Response from NATURE

Ron at Ron at
Fri Jun 14 14:17:52 CDT 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: "Eric Dunbar" <erdunbar at MAC.COM>
Sent: Friday, June 14, 2002 10:34 AM
Subject: Re: Response from NATURE

> Anyway, on to more practical questions (to bring these threads to their
> logical conclusion):
> Has the discussion incited anyone to contemplate a change in organisation
> policy or personal publishing behaviour? Will any of you active in "The
> Codes", on editorial boards, or as generators of new taxonomic
> be working on proposals to address the [perceived] shortcomings of
> proposal?
> Sincerely, Eric.

We will continue to do as we have always done (we started in 1998 :-) and
send issues of all the papers we publish to Zoological Record.  This is
where people expect to find our entomological stuff.  If this bugs
somebody, oh well.

As primarily a "lay person" my first, and lingering, thought from Dr.Gee's
presentation was _conflict of interest_.   Let's see, 1) he is the
"...editor at NATURE responsible for handling manuscripts in those areas of
evolutionary biology that encompass systematics and taxonomy" and 2)
"...longtime Fellow of the Linnean Society, on whose Council I now serve".
Microsofting.  (Hey, I just coined a new word!  If it ever catches on and
makes the dictionary one day I hope it includes this original definition:
Back door market manipulation in an effort to establish a monopoly through
a dictated-by-design influence established by one person or entity.)

Here is a publication that does next to nothing in taxonomic publication
and is suddenly a pace setter (not to mention expert on same).  If they (
he?) really want to "help" why not open the store for lots of taxonomic
descriptions - especially on lowly worms. (Key word: lowly.)   "...But we
[sic /I ] -- Nature and the Linnean -- felt..."   Good thing I don't
believe in conspiracies.

Too many questions and answers in his list (they detract from the most
glaring factors).   These factors are in Q 1 & Q2.

Q1) "Q: Why is Nature doing this, when the Zoological Record and the Index
Kewensis already exist?"

This is the first Q as it sets up the first deflective answer which is,
"...A: The IK and the ZR have no profile outside taxonomy, and among
scientists generally. They are explicitly publications for taxonomists and
are less accessible to users".   Excuse me?  These exist and function due
to the "supply and demand" of market forces.  Taxonomists are a market and
these supply  - in orderly and long standing fashion - our- usage.

The next response is the Achilles' heal - which is why it is one of the
first things he mentions.

Q1) "Q: Why is Nature doing this given that it publishes next to zero new

"A: Nature is under no illusions about its status as a publisher of
nomenclature per se. "   It sure is under delusion as to their import and
influence or they would not have done this.  They are a self admitted
non-player in the taxonomic world - that now wants to become a regulator.
Perceived sphere of influence = illusion.

Lastly, It's Friday and I'm cranky till 5 o'clock gets here.

Ron Gatrelle

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