effective publishing

Wed Apr 26 17:13:30 CDT 2000

 BJ Tindall's wrote:

"Perhaps we should be less concerned with
whether a book is hand written by a team of monks, or whether one of us is
producing it in the garden shed by modern technology, the most important
points are:
a) availability of the publication
b) the accuracy of the data
c) the ability to reproduce or check what is printed
d) the availability of type material where appropriate"

To which R. Fogel added:

"All one has to do is print say 25 copies and distribute them to major herbaria/libraries."

The last point addresses Brian Tindall's point (a), which I would select together with point (c) as being the essential issues to address. I agree with the principle of setting a minimum or threshold number of either the copies produced, or the number of libraries supplied with identical copies. What the optimal number is or which libraries to supply, may turn out to be the next practical obstacles.

I would like to modify Brian's point (c) as the need for the publisher to specify unambiguously the edition or version used to produce a batch of books, as well as the need for subsequent authors to unambiguously cite the specific edition or version. Perhaps a unique identifier per print run such as a batch number may even have to be specified. This implies that any subsequent, even minor corrections will probably strictly have to be identified as, and cited as, a next edition of the publication.

I am sure publishers do realise, and cater for these sorts of implications, but it may be wise for taxonomists to liase closer with them on such points.

Pieter J.D. Winter
Herbarium Curator
University of the North
Private Bag  X 1106
South Africa
pieterw at unin.unorth.ac.za

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