Naming a species after yourself (zoology)

Gene Hall Eugene.Hall at COLORADO.EDU
Mon Mar 6 16:26:21 CST 2006

I'm not basing my comments entirely on 'keystroke' contributions. Robin stated:

As the 3rd author, after whom the new species is being named,
did not contribute to either the writing or the research for the
paper, it is my suggestion to the Editorial Board that the third
author be deleted from the authorship list.

I have a problem with someone being listed as an author if they didn't
write the paper AND didn't conduct research directly related to the paper
as sated in Robin's message. The fact that the person MAY later contribute
something to the paper remains to be seen and  he/she shouldn't be included
as an author until a contribution has been made either to writing or research.

I believe I have made my point and will leave it at that. I don't want to
fall into the same trap as others on lists who have a tendency to repeat
themselves ad nauseam just to beat their chests and make the same point
over and over again.

Have a good day.


>I started to skip all of this discussion (being a botanist...), but I've
>found it to be interesting. I agree with Rich (and others) that
>contributions to the paper don't necessarily equate to keystrokes. A case
>in point: In the 8th year of a 10-year survey of the "flora of Ames,
>Iowa", an amateur botanist joined us in collecting plants. He didn't know
>the names of very many plants, but he certainly had an eye for what was
>new and different. And being retired, he was willing and able to devote
>numerous hours to the project, which turned up a "record-setting" number
>of species. He was in on our discussions, but didn't say much about the
>project as it was being written up for publication. He certainly didn't
>write any part of it, yet we included him as third author (of five)
>because of his important contributions to the checklist. And he learned a
>lot from the experience, including the recognition of a lot of plants.
>This isn't the end of the story, though. By our encouraging his efforts,
>he tackled the flora of an entire county, and even though he had help with
>identification, editing and such, he produced a fine single-authored paper
>that is now in press. And now he's working on yet another county, turning
>up numerous county-records, and even a couple of state records. So in a
>few years he'll have yet another great publication of his own. This likely
>wouldn't have happened if he had felt that his efforts on the original
>project had not been appreciated.
>Deb Lewis
>At 03:18 PM 3/6/2006, Richard Pyle wrote:
>> > The major issue here is allowing a person to be listed as an
>> > author when that person made no contribution to the paper being published.
>>I guess in my (atypical?) view, authors should be those who contributed to
>>the *science*; whether or not their fingers drove the keystrokes that
>>hammered out the MS.  And I believe strongly that the science of alpha
>>taxonomy begins in the field.  If a person discovers new species in nature,
>>and brings it to the attention of another person who is taxonomically more
>>familiar with the group for detailed comparative analysis, then both of
>>these people contributed to the science of the paper being published, in my
>>I agree that Science & Nature are not ideal yardsticks by which to compare
>>taxonomic publications, but I do not agree that the fundemntal premise that
>>authroship is a reflection of contributors to the scientific content of a
>>publication is somehow different or special for taxonomy. Short of outright
>>fraud, the decision of authorship of any scientific work should be left to
>>the collective set of people who assembled the science, and felt it worthy
>>of communicating to the broader scientific community through the medium of a
>>I agree that having the honoree of a patronym included among the authors of
>>*that* name is incredibly tacky.  I even agree that the situation where an
>>author of a paper is honored within that paper by a patronym (even if not a
>>taxonomic author of that name) is pretty damn tacky as well (I would never
>>put myself in that position -- mostly to protect my own scientific
>>reputation).  But my broader point is that, if there are no Code rules
>>addressing it, then we have bigger issues to deal with (in terms of getting
>>species described), than worrying about how much actual "science" each
>>author contributed, or how egotistical an author may be.
>>Richard L. Pyle, PhD
>>Ichthyology, Bishop Museum
>>1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
>>Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
>>email: deepreef at
>Deborah Q. Lewis, Curator
>Ada Hayden Herbarium (ISC)             E-mail: dlewis at
>Department of EEOB                        Phone: [1] 515-294-9499
>Iowa State University                         FAX:  [1] 515-294-1337
>Ames, IA  50011-1020

Gene Hall
Invertebrate Zoology Collections Manager
CU Museum of Natural History
UCB 265
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0265
Phone: 303.735.5262
CU Museum:
Coleopterists Society:

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