NATURE to save taxonomy!

Ron at Ron at
Thu Jun 6 15:37:35 CDT 2002

Doug Yanega wrote:
I argue that we need to develop and implement - SOON!! - new and
explicit standards that apply to all taxonomic disciplines equally;
standards of integrity, of accountability, of accessibility.
Standards that are NOT part of the Codes, but should be.

What Doug is talking about as an end product involves big change and a big
overhaul does it not.  Big things are sometimes best arrived at by little
steps and lots of chewing rather than leaps and gulps.  To me, this is like
getting a freight train going and not a drag racer.

An initial, small, but powerful push is needed.  This can be as simple as
setting down some broad terms (points) that are submitted to the Committees
of all Codes, institutions, and publishers for the purpose of having all
agree that these "issues" need to be addressed.  There would be a formal
"signing on" to said broad philosophical document.  This document would
then be officially incorporated into each entities foundational purpose and
manifest in their operational practice.  I would divide this up in two
categories - problems and goals.  The object is for all signers to agree to
work toward eliminating the problems and facilitating the goals.


Each of these would then be addressed on their own and what ever small
steps all parties would agree on written in stone step by step as time
passed.  This is all very broad, which is where negotiations begin.  The
devil is always in the details.

At this point I would start to type out specific (detailed) examples and
ways and means.  But that is just the problem - moving too fast and with
too much information.   I am saying that a big deal needs to be made out of
having scores of official entities sign on to (be serious about) a document
of 20 words or less.

What good does this do?  It points us all in a collective and universal
direction.  That is called focus.  Then we could begin.  Without such a
common focus all one has is continued rancor, rhetoric,  and unilateral
initiatives - creating more competition, duplication and fragmentation.

Doug's goals are correct, but the soonest (and safest) way to get someplace
is sometimes the long way around the mountain.  NATURE has taken a
unilateral initiative and I just said what that creates.

Ron Gatrelle

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