Fwd: Re: Electronic Registration

Doug Yanega dyanega at POP.UCR.EDU
Fri Nov 16 10:28:16 CST 2001

Ron Gatrelle wrote:

>There is a very good reason why the ICZN does not (and
>hopefully never will) "require" review of authors papers.  It is academia
>that wants this requirement (control).[snip] It is a very small step
>from "review" to "censorship".

If a taxonomist wanna-be self-publishes a piece of garbage, it hurts
all of us (and, due to the nature of the system, it hurts us into
perpetuity). It's not wanting control, it's wanting *standards*.
Establishing a set of standards serves to protect us from the most
egregious offenses (like I said, think doctors and lawyers) - and the
odds of such offenses are much greater now that the act of
self-publication is easier than it has ever been. The reason the Code
can't require peer review is simply because it is too slippery a
thing to define, and impossible for them to police, NOT because
there's anything wrong with it in principle. It's inertia and ennui -
very few of us are preoccupied and worrying about what kind of havoc
one determined fool could wreak, and the ICZN probably wouldn't take
action proactively. But ask yourself this: if someone released a CD
tomorrow that validly established 5,000 new names for North American
swallowtail butterflies (and NONE of which were actually new taxa),
wouldn't you scream bloody murder about being forced to designate and
list all those synonyms for the rest of human history? Or are you
telling me that you would happily embrace it, and not complain,
simply because the author fulfilled all the technical requirements of
the Code, though every single name was a synonym?


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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