Publication when public policy makes specimens unavailable

Ron at Ron at
Thu Jun 7 21:30:57 CDT 2001

IF it is true that specimens are already deteriorating - time is of great
importance. I would have to think that some kind of "talking nicely" surely
has already taken place. If just asking nicely after a factual and
reasonable presentation were all that were needed - this situation would
already have been resolved. The saying that the squeaky wheel gets the oil
comes to mind. As a pastor, I have been in and out of court with many
people and all kinds of situations. Money does talk and reasonable
compromised almost always only follows some "threat" that motivates the
threatened to negotiate.

Government bodies, boards, commissions, etc are the absolute worst to get
anything done with - just try to get a pot hole fixed, stop sign put up,
school board, city council etc. etc. to do something. There is no one
person to sit down and reason with, no specific feet at which authority
lies, its like living the movie Brazil. Nightmare on science street.

I am not talking about suing for money - but a court ordered intervention.
AND that just a phone call or letter from a real lawyer on behalf of a real
scientific entity could get things moving in the right direction -
negotiation. The course I suggest is not to punish - punitive but
corrective. I'm late for an appointment, I better get going or I may get
sued :-)

----- Original Message -----
From: <Penny.Greenslade at>
To: <gatrelle at TILS-TTR.ORG>
Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2001 8:55 PM
Subject: RE: Publication when public policy makes specimens unavailable

> A compromise and non-confrontational solution could be to permanently
> deposit the specimen within the county, as legally required, but arrange
> with the relevant authorities to have it on temporary loan to the most
> appropriate and nearest institution until such time as acceptable
> and curation facilities are in place within the county.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ron Gatrelle [mailto:gatrelle at TILS-TTR.ORG]
> Sent: Friday, 8 June 2001 10:29
> Subject: Re: Publication when public policy makes specimens unavailable
> My votes - comments below.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Barry Roth" <barry_roth at YAHOO.COM>
> Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2001 7:42 PM
> Subject: Publication when public policy makes specimens unavailable
> > Taxacomers,
> >
> > I happen to be the editor of a journal specializing in mollusks.  The
> journal's policy is quite rigorous about the deposit of voucher specimens
> for various kinds of studies, along lines discussed on this list in the
> past.  Journal policy also insists that at least representative specimens
> for Recent or fossil faunal lists be deposited in publicly accessible
> collections, where they will be available for examination by interested
> workers.  To me, this represents nothing more than accountability -- in
> effect, making the experiment (of identifying a fauna's component taxa
> drawing conclusions therefrom) replicable.
> >
> > Recently a manuscript was submitted that did not specify a repository
> the fossil samples that it reported.  On inquiry to the author, I learned
> that the specimens were collected in an administrative unit (a county in
> southern California) that will not let specimens be deposited in
> institutions outside the county.  However, according to the author, there
> is no institution to curate the collections within that county; and at
> present all such collections are being sent to a warehouse where they are
> not cared for (and reportedly some have been destroyed by neglect).
> >
> > What do list members think about the following propositions:
> >
> > (1)  In the interest of unfettered scientific publication, in a case
> this a journal should relax its standards regarding deposited specimens,
> hoping that at some future time a satisfactory repository can be found.
> ----NO
> >
> > (2)  A journal should adhere to its standards, and the county policy
> makers should be informed that their stance is inhibiting the scientific
> publication of findings based on specimens from their jurisdiction.
> ----YES
> >
> > (3)  Some combination of the above ... or a middle ground (e.g.,
> representative specimens should be illustrated for all taxa).
> ---I would get a good lawyer and sue for: wrongful interference with
> scientific research and destruction by negligence of same on the public's
> behalf.  Get an injunction from State or Federal court to halt this
> "confiscation" of scientific materials that are in the public domain and
> national interest, with a court ordered removal of all such materials to
> CA state University or other institution with facilities capable of
> preserving these items until the County can demonstrate its ability, by a
> documented plan and asset provision, to facilitate such care as these
> scientific treasures require. Request that the law is invalid as the
> has not taken any adequate steps to provide care. This is like the County
> saying it requires all children to eat lunch at the Counties schools and
> then provide no facilities or food. Government can not pass ordinances
> laws without also taking the proper measures to adequately comply with
> their own intrinsic responsibility in regard to those ordinances and
> GEEE!  A lawyer ought to be able to come up with stuff a lot better than
> this. I would think there are environmental, educational, political
> that would chip on or underwrite a legal action to end this absurd
> situation.
> Ron

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