Jones, Brian Dr
bjones at AGRIC.WA.GOV.AU
Wed Apr 26 09:17:17 CDT 2000
Lets not panic over this issue. Its been around for a long time. Many of
the early workers, whom we all revere, published small print runs usually at
their own expense and with relatively limited distribution. Fishes from
Cooks expeditions are a case in point. They were seldom "peer reviewed".
Other authors have used journal series in obscure (often short-lived)
journals. Who has access to "Zoology Publications from Victoria University
of Wellington", for example? How many of us read journals in some of the
more difficult languages such as Ukranian or Korean?
In practice, important works have been accessed, photocopied and translated
by those who need to know the detail, and it forms part of the mainstream
taxonomic literature. "Junk taxonomy" (and one could refer to works such as
that of M. Hesse in the 1870's, published in a mainline journal) has been
ignored or relegated to "species inquirenda" through an ongoing process of
More to the point is the term "made available to the public" which in a
legal sense (which is what seems to count these days) means the "great
unwashed" not just the academic community. Recently I exchanged words with
an editor of a mainline journal who published a "first record" for a common
cestode, the existance of which had been reported for about 8 years in at
least two editions of bound, published, "for sale" veterinary course notes
at a reputable University and been on a web page for over 3 years. The
editors response was that since it had not been "published in a peer
reviewed journal" the presence of the organism on the continent had not
previously been recorded.
If we taxonomists don't adapt to technology we will become extinct faster
than our "peer reviewed paper journals"!
Dr Brian Jones
Senior Fish Pathologist, Fisheries WA
phone +61-8-9368-3649 fax +61-8-9474-1881
> From: Luis Diego Gomez[SMTP:ldgomez at HORTUS.OTS.AC.CR]
> Reply To: Luis Diego Gomez
> Sent: Wednesday, 26 April 2000 3:58
> To: TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG
> Subject: instant publication
> Before we go into panic or suggest changes to the wording of any Articles
> in the ICBN let us consider the following:
> to publish means by the OED or the Code, " to make public" , to make a
> printed document available to the public, whatever the method of printing
> may be (Gutenberg hand set press or cyber laser printer). Obviously,
> production of a single copy does not qualify as a "publication" more so
> than a "manuscript on file" does.
> It is obvious, to me at least, that new names or combinations "published"
> by whatever means in a single copy will not be validly published names in
> as much as they will not be "made available to the public" other than the
> author. We must also understand, implicitly, that "public" does not refer
> to just anybody out there but the scientific community and/or learned
> The example of the pet trade magazines where revisions or new species are
> sometimes published is a good one. In Botany, one sees often names of new
> taxa published in, say, orchid magazines, journals of plant societies e.g.
> Principes for palms, bromeliads, etc. mixed with travel accounts and
> horticultural aspects of the trade.
> Peer review, although highly recommended, does not guarantee of necessity
> "good taxonomy" . However, it may be helpful for an author to reconsider
> potential new taxa in the light of other experts pronouncing about them.
> Unnecessary or "bad" names will always appear in the literature regardless
> of the method of publication. There is little one can do about that beyond
> the editorial advise given by journals with a sound publication policy.
> One possible good thing about the new technology that triggered this
> exchange of opinions may be the reduced cost of producing scientific
> literature, too expensive now as we all know. As in other aspects of the
> natural sciences, such as conservation of biodiversity, we must keep up
> hope that the new capabilities available will be put to good use by
> scrupulous scientists, too.
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