another zoology authorship question

Alan Harvey aharvey at GEORGIASOUTHERN.EDU
Tue Mar 7 09:20:14 CST 2006


In my experience, the right to publish descriptions of any new species
is one of the perks, so to speak, for the taxonomist who identifies
specimens, otherwise uncompensated, for others. Whether the collector
is an author of the species is more or less at the discretion of the
taxonomist, and I've seen it go both ways, depending on the individual
taxonomist and on the relative expertise of the collector.

Here's a situation that differs from the above. Scientist A collects a
broad taxonomic array of specimens as part of a grant-funded project.
He identifies most specimens himself, but sends some obscure material
to experts for identification. One expert (Scientist B), in a country
with somewhere between a struggling and a collapsing economic
infrastructure, requests for and receives substantial financial
assistance from Scientist A. He then determines that some of the
material represents a new species.

So, unlike the typical collector-expert scenario, Scientist A provided
considerable financial support to Scientist B, and is feeling some
pressure from the granting agency regarding productivity. Scientist A
wants to know if it is appropriate to request a co-authorship for the
new species on these grounds, and I frankly don't know what to say. It
seems reasonable to me, but then again I've never had a collector
request co-authorship with me (I usually name the species after the
collector, now that I think about it).

What say other taxonomists out there?



Alan W. Harvey
Associate Professor
Department of Biology - 8042
Georgia Southern University
Statesboro, GA 30460
phone (912) 681-5784
fax (912) 681-0845

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