unique numbers for species

Eric Dunbar erdunbar at YAHOO.COM
Thu Oct 11 15:56:25 CDT 2001

>> This brings us to the notion of registering new names, at which time a
>> unique identifier could be attached.  Of course, this concept has been so
>> far rejected by the community. - Barry
> Correct me if I'm wrong, but the registration idea was rejected because it
> required registration & the assignment of a number as part of the criteria
> for valid publication, no?

Aside from that [the arguments seem weak at best to me], are there other
arguments against registration?

Internet access of some description is extremely common among the scientific
community and provides for a quick and painless route for registration.
E-mail is very well entrenched and many people have actual TCP/IP
connections for HTTP, Telnet and FTP transfers. For those without *any*
internet access (e.g. in some 3rd world countries) there is always the
possibility of regular old snail mail. When you do publish a new
description, fire off an e-mail or a letter detailing the journal, the
taxonomic info, and a copy of the paper (provided you don't violate the
copyright restrictions).

I suppose the most difficult aspect to all of this is creating and funding
an organisation (or modifying an existing one) to oversee such a registry.

Perhaps I'm seeing this as a fairly simple proposition as I'm looking at
this with the idealism of one inexperienced with taxonomic and scientific
egos (I haven't been around that long yet ;).

It seems bizarre NOT to have such a registry, especially when we now have
the technology (Internet + Internet 2) to facilitate its existence. As
mentioned in another e-mail on the topic, GenBank is a resounding success.
Why couldn't there be a similar TaxaBank, especially if it were linked to
GenBank sequences?

MSc candidate (not in taxonomy), U of Toronto, Canada

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