Thesis publications

James H. Beach jbeach at NSF.GOV
Fri Mar 7 11:08:56 CST 1997


I am probably going to step on someone's toes here and possibly repeat
views already expressed in this Taxacom thread on the validity of theses
as publications because I have not been able to keep up with all of the
messages. But here goes.

It seems that there are various problems and conveniences with regard to
accepting theses as a valid form of publication.  The nuances and details
on both sides could be argued indefinitely but I wonder if the question of
the validity of the various print modes of publication is an issue whose
time has passed.

Although the taxonomic community infrastructure does not exist yet (I
don't think), instantaneous communications and cheap archiving capacity of
networked computers would seem to obviate the need to regulate the
validity of a taxonomic work based on the mode of print production.  I
hasten to recognize that review and quality assurance functions
associated with journals and books which theses do not receive, but as far
as codifying print modes as valid or invalid on the basis of their
accessibility and the distribution properties, I would argue that that
*should be* a moot discussion.

It *should be* moot because communications and computing technology are
capable of essentially instantaneous, world-wide dissemination.  The
important archival requirements (stability, security, endurance, etc.) are
bit more complex especially given the inevitable evolution of technology,
but they are not unmanageable - with the appropriate community
(professional and societal) infrastructure.

How can we move the code makers and community from worrying over what
constitutes valid print media to identifying and financially supporting
on-line archives which are sanctioned to give immediate 'valid
publication' status, perhaps after formal review or quality control for
the syntactic and methodological compliance to community standards?


(I will copy this to the BIO-AUTH list where online authority control
will likely be a major topic. See the archive for BIO-AUTH on
http://kaw.keil.ukans.edu for details.)


Jim Beach

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