peer review

Doug Yanega dyanega at MONO.ICB.UFMG.BR
Thu Feb 19 19:02:21 CST 1998

Anita Cholewa wrote:

>Asking systematic societies to refuse papers unless one or
>more authors is certified isn't going to solve the problem.
>1. there is no certification program at present for taxonomists

This allows for the sort of abuses Stuart was warning against, *assuming*
there is a continued move towards patronyms-for-profit. If there is not,
then we still have the IDs-for-profit problem, but that's a lesser matter
(economically, though more likely to be a genuine problem down the road).
If you don't think taxonomists will ever find a way to make money from
their efforts, then a union is admittedly probably unnecessary.

>2. if we wanted a certification are current faculty willing to go
>   through this hoop (be honest)

I did NOT suggest a certification procedure. I suggested invited membership
in an organization. I have never heard anyone claim that becoming an NAS
member was an odious hoop to be jumped through, for example, but that
system is essentially what I am proposing would serve our purposes.
Consider PNAS, the official NAS journal - essentially, one way or another,
an NAS member must submit the manuscript, even if not an author. There is a
precedent for the practice, in that sense; thus, even a non-union member
could publish valid taxon descriptions and to do so they would only have to
send the paper to a certified taxonomist and have *them* submit the paper.
If one extends the principle - of a dedicated journal exclusively for union
members - this would also represent one possible resolution to the
long-running debate over having a single journal in which all new species
must be described (perhaps subdivided by taxon). I was not advocating a
fee-payment-rubber-stamp system, as "certification" tends to be. Just join
the union and abide by its rules (e.g., the ICZN/ICBN, using their fee
schedule instead of charging your own personal fees, etc.). The concept was
simply to create a filter for the potential "unscrupulous splitters" Stuart
was leery of, NOT to prevent anyone of amateur status from engaging in
legitimate science! Again, if such is not a concern to anyone, then no
unionization would be needed, most likely.


Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 031-449-2579, fax: 031-441-5481  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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