Zoological Record Response re Nature to save taxonomy

Nigel Robinson nrobinson at YORK.BIOSIS.ORG
Tue Jul 2 11:51:59 CDT 2002

Following the various discussions on TAXACOM regarding centralised
access to taxonomic information and the proposal by Nature/The
Linnaean Society on preprints, BIOSIS felt, as producer of Zoological
Record (ZR), that a response may be helpful in clarifying ZR coverage.

ZR covers all facets of zoology with exhaustive coverage of taxonomy
and systematics, where each taxonomic change is individually recorded.
Contrary to Mr Gee’s statement, the database, in printed, CD ROM or
internet form, is  widely used in many settings outside taxonomy.
While systematics is one of the main focuses of the coverage, other
non systematic subjects account for nearly 85% of the ZR database, and
are used extensively throughout the world by a variety of scientists
ranging from undergraduates to researchers, government institutions
and commercial companies.

As many of you are aware, the International Code of Zoological
Nomenclature has contained a recommendation to supply reprints of
articles for inclusion in ZR for several years as a means of ensuring
that publication of new names was recorded; we would endorse this as a
means of further disseminating taxonomic changes.

ZR has been capturing new animal names for over 130 years and is often
referred to as the “unofficial register” of animal names. In the
70,000 items indexed each year from over 4500 serials and other non
serial publications, we currently index around 20,000 new taxa of all
ranks and estimate that this covers well over 90% of all new animal
names.  As our systems have been improved to take advantage of new
technologies, this coverage will have risen, but we could improve this
further if reprints were sent in by authors for more obscure
publications to which we do not have access for indexing.

As strong relationships and collaboration already exist between ZR and
other taxonomic organizations and researchers, there is possibly a
logical role for ZR as an official register or in other taxonomic
projects, subject to further discussion and agreement. This would be
entirely consistent with BIOSIS’ mission as a not-for-profit company
- “To facilitate understanding of the living world by helping
researchers, educators, students and others to access information
relevant to the life sciences”.

Nigel Robinson
Nigel Robinson, Zoological Record Product Manager
BIOSIS UK, 54 Micklegate, York, YO1 6WF, United Kingdom
E Mail: nrobinson at york.biosis.org
Tel: +44 (0)1904 642816      Fax: +44 (0)1904 612793

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