[Taxacom] Privacy laws and Science

Frederick W. Schueler bckcdb at istar.ca
Sun Jun 18 10:41:30 CDT 2006

Adolf Ceska wrote:

> Is there any lawyer in our scientific community who would stand up and say that - considering, e.g., the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution - we can publish the collectors' names or the names of those who identified the specimens without breaking the law?
> We are living in a rather absurd world.

* it's not that the world is absurd, it's that the adversarial culture
of commercial 'intellectual property' and 'privacy' is intruding on the
scientific culture of 'intellectual potlatch.' I should be out
collecting mosquito larvae now, but I'll just take time to say that a
determiner of botanical specimens gains status from the determination
only when his/her name is associated with determinations which are seen
to be useful: so to publish the determinations without the determiner's
name is (to put it in commercial terms) theft of the status the
determiner would otherwise gain from his/her work.

The National Museum of Canada had a similar kafuffle in the 1930's (I
think) when the principle of scientific authorship had to be defended
against the parliamentary principle of ministerial responsibility, and
the government tried to require all NMC publications to be anonymous,
since they were effusions of the government, for which the minister
alone was held responsible.

           Bishops Mills Natural History Centre
Frederick W. Schueler, Aleta Karstad, Jennifer Helene Schueler 
      RR#2 Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada K0G 1T0 
   on the Smiths Falls Limestone Plain 44* 52'N 75* 42'W 
     (613)258-3107 <bckcdb at istar.ca> http://pinicola.ca
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