Electronic Registration

B. J. Tindall bti at DSMZ.DE
Mon Nov 19 12:36:49 CST 2001

>> At 11:47 16.11.2001 -0500, Ron Gatrelle wrote:
I have cut out the text from the "first round" to shorten it:
>> Well yes and no:
>> All codes are restrictive in that you can't publish just anything - you
>> can't reuse the same name for a different type if that name is still in
>> use. There are already restrictions which are there to serve a defined
>> purpose. The present system in zoology and botany operates around a
>> of "I have published a new name - now you try and find it."
>Yes, and this is fine.  Restriction by a Code driven process, not by a
>single universal Agency - which not only registers but decides what is
>worth (by their post publication review) to be included in the registry.
Ah well I keep saying ask how bacteriology is doing it and you will see
that the Code drives registration. We do not employ an agency to work out
whether or not they like a paper or a particular idea. The Code is the sole
"agent" for allowing a name to be "validly published". If you have large
numbers of new names then it becomes a task which requires funding and you
have to create an "agency" to do it. However, the Codes must control the
agencies and not the other way around - if that is your concern then I
understand what you are saying, but at present the Code controls
registration in bacteriology and that is the right way around.

>> All registration requires is that one notify the scientific community
>that a
>> name has been published which comforms to the appropriate code. Creating
>I support this fully.  The ICZN strongly "recomends" registration with the
>zoological record.  (A copy of every paper we publish is sent to them.)
>If publishers and authors have not/ are not doing this, then it would seem
>to only be a matter of making this a requirement of publication - rather
>than the establishment of an elite registration agency.
Yes of course use the Zoological Record, but with large numbers of names
they might ask for extra funding - however that does not automatically make
then an "elite registration agency", but by sending them your publications
it probably makes their life a bit easier.....

>> central list and publishing such names on a website makes access easier.
>> Someone has to administer such a site, which means that one has to rely
>> a "central body".
Unfortunately that is true, but I do not think that this is automatically
bad. If the agency asks "what do we include" rather than telling
systematics "this is what we will include". Many of the current initiatives
seem to be looking towards systematics for help. If you don't help now then
there is the danger that someone may in fact set up such a central agency
which does not act in the interest of systematics, and then you have lost it!

>> In your e-mail you also mention that review can cause problems - I see
>> similar problems developing in microbiology, but this is a case of
>> education. David Hull in his "Science as a Process" documented the
>> situation. I do not see that problems at the review stage should stop
>> registration - sit on the reviewers and editors, don't take it out on
>> registration - your quarrel is with the way taxonomy is being practised,
>> not with the goal of listing all names in use - these are two different
>> aspects, although I appreciate your point!
>Well put - don't blame the donkey for the broken cart.  When we have put
>reviewers and authors in contact it puts pressure on both to perform.  An
>author can contact the reviewer and ask what the hold up is if a paper has
>just been laying around the reviewer's office for 6 months with no action.
>The reviewer can contact the author and say what the heck did you mean by
>this.  Email makes this possible as never before.  The end result is a more
>quickly produced and better technical paper.  However, what I understood
>Doug to be calling for was  _not_ just a system that only registered names
>post original publication, but the creation of an agency that would conduct
>post publication reviews and then register only what passed its muster and
>paid the required fees.  Hopefully, I misunderstood him.  If so, I'm sorry
>for all the fuss.  But if not, then I will say again that such a system is
>elitist and alarming to me.
Well the post publication check depends on what the Code says. In
bacteriology we would not accept a name published in a news paper and we
require that the author(s) conform to certain standards (this relates to
good science and availability of types) - I do not see that as negative
because it saves us having to deal with taxa for which no types are
available or of dubious identity. I agree with you that anyone who says
either "I don't like the methods" or "I don't agree with the taxonomic
treatment because it does not fit my pet theory" and then stops
registration should be sat on - but this does not automatically have to be
coupled to registration. In fact there have been some names "registered" in
bacteriology where someone should have said - "does not conform to the
Rules - can't be registered", but no one did, so that is the other side of
the coin!!
The problem is that there are a number of initiatives already under way
which are heading towards putting up complete lists of names/lists of known
species, so there is already a move towards listing all names/species. My
guess is that government funding agencies would have zero tolerance if
systematics says "cost of registration is a postage stamp, but I do not
accept the principle, so I am going to tie up man power by letting you
search the literature" - whether it be printed or web based is irrelevant.

* Dr.B.J.Tindall      E-MAIL bti at dsmz.de                           *
* DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH *
* Mascheroder Weg 1b, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany                *
* Tel.: ++ 531 2616 0 (general)                                    *
* Tel.: ++ 531 2616 224 (direct)                                   *
* Fax:  ++ 531 2616 418                                            *
* Fax:  ++ 531 2616 491 (ISDN)                                     *
*                                                                  *
* Homepage: http://www.dsmz.de/index.html                          *
* E-MAIL: help at dsmz.de (general enquiries)                         *
*         sales at dsmz.de (sales)                                    *

More information about the Taxacom mailing list