Digital Publication

Doug Yanega dyanega at POP.UCR.EDU
Tue Jun 26 13:54:36 CDT 2001

Curtis Clark wrote:

>All the issues are solved by dual publication: paper for permanence,
>electronic for access. All the codes currently permit this (the paper copy
being the relevant one at least in ICBN).

I agree, but I feel that the electronic version should be mandatory,
the paper version optional, instead of the other way around. First,
an electronic archive can easily be made that is more permanent than
a library (and a dedicated terrorist could do just as much damage to
the Library of Congress as a dedicated hacker could to an
international database, and probably have an easier time of it).
Second, no taxonomist I know likes to sit reading a computer screen
while at their microscope. People *will* print out copies of online
taxonomic publications, so there will always be hard copies available
- I do this myself for the Springer-Verlag journals - it's just that
it won't be the publisher printing them in bulk any more.

Ron Gatrelle wrote:

>The internet is frail. It is a tool that is only as good as its
>programmers, technicians, software etc, and as dependable as the computer
>manufacturers, local elcectric companies,  hook-up service providers,
>ability to pay ones bill to Web page host, etc.  To be thinking about
>a single location intrusted to...

YOU are thinking about a single location, Ron, and that *is*
ludicrous. Have you ever heard of a "mirror site"? Did you ever back
up one of your files on a disk? You have to be thinking pretty small
indeed to imagine - as you are - that a universal archive of every
scientific paper on the planet would be maintained as only a single
copy in a single location.

>and also trust the
>high value Joe
>six pack (all countries have loads of this type of persons) places on
>science - especially bug taxonomy - to be willing to lay down his life to
>see that it is preserved forever.

Joe Six Pack will not need to care about it, unless he actually wants
doctors and chemists and engineers to have access to their
literature. You miss the point of a *universal* archive. If you
devote an archive exclusively to taxonomy, then you're begging to
have it die of neglect. It would take a miracle for taxonomy, by
itself, to have that much public support. We can't *ever* beat them,
so let's join them. Besides which, if our work is sharing the same
data space as theirs, is it not possible that a few of them,
especially the MDs, might actually NOTICE that they can make use of
taxonomic information? It won't help the public become aware of the
value of taxonomists if we cut ourselves off from the rest of the
scientific community.

>What is needed is multiplicity - not simplicity.

In other words, you don't EVER want to be able to do a search on the
name of a taxon and simultaneously access all references ever made to
it? You *prefer* having to spend weeks trying to track them all down,
one by one, never sure if you've found them all?

>This is why I hope it never insists on Peer (click)
>Review. (Those who don't agree with something will gripe at who the
>reviewers were even where reviewed.)   It is also why I trust the code will
>never allow on line publication. To do that would mean any kid could
>"publish" on an bird that is only in their imagination.

Um...that's exactly what peer review would prevent. It's entirely
legal under the code right now, since all it takes is five copies,
and any kid can make five copies and mail them to five major
libraries. I could take 50 Monarch butterflies, go on EBay and
auction them off one by one by claiming "I will name a new species of
butterfly after the high bidder" and then privately print and mail
off a publication naming them. There is nothing in the Code to
prevent me from doing this, and saddling every butterfly taxonomist
into perpetuity with the need to cite each and every one of those 50
synonyms - even if the Commission rules the publication is to be
suppressed. That's just plain wrong.


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
phone: (909) 787-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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