outlets for alpha taxonomy

Ron at Ron at
Wed Jan 30 14:45:38 CST 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: "Denis Brothers" <Brothers at NU.AC.ZA>
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2002 8:24 AM
Subject: Re: outlets for alpha taxonomy

> >>> "Barry M. OConnor" <bmoc at umich.edu> 01/30/02 06:13PM >>>
> There are some systematists who view the ICZN rule about paper-only
> publishing as anachronistic and are willing to flaunt the rule as a
> "test-case" so to speak.  Some have already done so.
> If such authors are happy to have their work ignored (or even pirated
> without acknowledgement), then they are free to follow this course. I
> hardly see it as a "test-case", however - such 'papers' effectively do
> not exist for nomenclatural purposes.
> Denis

Getting a late start today on the emails and have not yet opened all on
this thread. Thus, someone may have already addressed this and I haven't
opened it yet.  So far we are talking of _risk_ on the part of authors.  in
the above statment the secondary though in parenthesis is actually the
biggest *risk*.   One could take and put new type lables on the type
specimen, restate the research, and publish on paper -- or just 5 CD-R and
the name is now attributed to this author as he is the one to make it

Let's say in 2005 the Commission changes the rules to allow electronic
publication (which I do not think it will do _ or should ever do_).  What
will happen then is that the Commission will state that _from 2005 forward_
things may be published electronically.  They can not possibly say that
"everything" before that date is grandfathered in due to the nomenclatural
mess that would create.

One of the reasons for a tougher definition of "published" via the ICZN is
to insure scientific quality of published papers.  If the Commissions
allowed for blanket on-line publication a 10 year old could redescribe
every animal in the world and instantly increase the known synonymy many
fold.  He could then do the same thing the next week with the same animals
and give them different names.  Eventually, by the time he was 20 say, the
majority of all animal names listed in the nomenclature would be his.  Far
fetched?   There are 12 and 15 year olds who have figured out how to hack
into Government computers, spit out deadly viruses that cause havoc to the
WWW.   You can bet that a smart kid would one day do exactly this.   The
only way to stop a wholesale flood of electronic off the wall taxonomic
descriptions would be for the IC_Ns to become a _control_ agent by
selection and approval of _which_ publishers they will allow or license.
And they are will never do that _and should never do that_.

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