was - now systems
Fri Jun 7 16:49:39 CDT 2002
----- Original Message -----
From: "Doug Yanega" <dyanega at POP.UCR.EDU>
Sent: Friday, June 07, 2002 1:23 PM
Subject: Re: NATURE to save taxonomy!
> Check back a few postings to see the system I was suggesting should
replace the current one. Let me repeat it and clarify it: all new names
would be published via a single source, both electronic and hardcopy.
Publication would be free, registration of names automatic, and viewing
would be free. Authors would all be anonymous, reviews would all be public,
open to EVERYONE in the scientific community. This does not qualify as
"interference of an outside authority" nor would such a review process lead
to "arbitrary decisions". The criteria for validity would therefore be
those of the present Codes plus the sole additional requirements that they
be published in this one venue, and in English - thereby guaranteeing the
integrity (no more vanity publishing), accountability (no more anonymous
reviews), and accessibility (no more hunting through a hundred journals, or
having to read a hundred languages) of all new taxonomic works. That seems
pretty straightforward to me. There is no "regulation and registration of
names by an entity outside the taxonomic community" in this scenario: names
are regulated and registered BY TAXONOMISTS. It also simultaneously
addresses every single item on Ron Gatrelle's list: it eliminates
Competition, Duplication, and Fragmentation (admittedly not "largely
nonexistant problems" as Bill implies), and results in Standardization,
Dissemination, and Utilization. UNlike Ron, though, I see no benefit to
addressing each of these items in a piecemeal fashion over the next decade
or two if we can easily deal with them all at one time within a single
year. They're all interrelated issues, let's treat them that way, and take
the short way through the mountain. I'd be very interested to know exactly
what aspect(s) of the above outlined system Ron sees as so unpalatable that
it would be impossible to implement within a year or so.
1) This system is like the proposal Pres. Bush just made. His reshuffling
of the outdated and inefficient 1940s era departments is great (as is
Doug's basic concept and _goal_). Getting those 88 special interest groups
(politicians) to go along with Bush is a whole other matter. Who and what
entity would have to relinquish "power" to accomplish either Bush's or
2) The only reason it would take time to implement such a new system (or
any system) is people - not the idea or proposed system(s). Eliminate
human nature and replace it with blind pragmatism and everything would move
smoother and faster in life. *Looks good on paper - famous last words.*
My "time" element, as I see it, is just facing the reality of personal and
political resistance. The speed of progress is always relative to the
amount of resistance. And we have no real idea of at which seemingly
minute (stupid) point all the feathers would be ruffled - or bowels get in
an uproar :-) Start small and go at the speed developments allow (fast or
slow) to achieve the best workability which will in turn insure long term
3) In Doug's system, reviewers are given more weight than authors. I think
reviewers should be no more than equal as they each have rather different
functions - both should be noted. Authors as they deserve credit/blame and
reviewers as they deserve to be exposed (as Doug said "no more anonymous
reviews"). Also, authors have more information and instinct about their
own discoveries and positions than reviewers, thus those who want to know
more need to know who the authors are so they can contact them. Authors
are _part_ of the research itself as it is but an expression of their
minds. They and their addresses should be included.
4) Problem phrase. "...Codes plus the sole additional requirements..."
Plus and sole - odd words to be together. Plus opens, sole shuts. In
other words - opinion, and then restriction of everyone to that opinion.
Who regulates the regulator(s). I personally lean to Doug's points, but
what of those who do not. I can see "...and in English - thereby
guaranteeing the integrity (no more vanity publishing)" as ruffling a few
feathers. What is vanity about publishing/reading in ones own tongue.
Other issues here too.
I come full circle. Establish a broad but substantive short document that
all sign onto with the genuine intention and resultant commitment to
development it into a detailed working system to last the ages to come (no,
I am not referring to Phylocode :-). Work hard and hope it all happens in
a short time. But be committed to the long hall. Doug's and my positions
are apples and oranges. He wants to get into specifics (which is how it
will all be worked out) - implementation. I am simply being philosophical
and from that trying to find out what shape of negotiating table everyone
will agree to sit down at - instigation.
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