abbreviations for author names

Thomas Moritz TMoritz at GETTY.EDU
Thu Mar 9 12:24:17 CST 2006

As an interested observer...

 While  LIST discussions — like TAXACOM — are a fine way of airing issues(though limited — by "LIST culture")— the Web provides a very powerful and potentially effective tool for building and sampling global community consensus on many questions of standards  —  assuming the community is actually prepared to go beyond subjective / idiosyncratic approaches?

(And a propos Geoff's comment —  quality assurance in publication *is* defintiely an important issue of standards but not the same issue as defining and enforcing a standard/ convention  with respect to publication of names?)


Please SEE: The Role of Scientific and Technical Data and Information in the Public Domain: Proceedings of a Symposium. Julie M. Esanu and Paul F. Uhlir, Eds. Steering Committee on the Role of Scientific and Technical Data and Information in the Public Domain Office of International Scientific and Technical Information Programs Board on International Scientific Organizations Policy and Global Affairs Division, National Research Council of the National Academies, p. 8

"The “small science,” independent investigator approach traditionally has characterized a large area of experimental laboratory sciences, such as chemistry or biomedical research, and field work and studies, such as biodiversity, ecology, microbiology, soil science, and anthropology. The data or samples are collected and analyzed independently, and the resulting data sets from such studies generally are heterogeneous and unstandardized, with few of the individual data holdings deposited in public data repositories or openly shared.    
The data exist in various twilight states of accessibility, depending on the extent to which they are published, discussed in papers but not revealed, or just known about because of reputation or ongoing work, but kept under absolute or relative secrecy. The data are thus disaggregated components of an incipient network that is only as effective as the individual transactions that put it together. Openness and sharing are not ignored, but they are not necessarily dominant either. These values must compete with strategic considerations of self-interest, secrecy, and the logic of mutually beneficial exchange, particularly in areas of research in which commercial applications are more readily identifiable."

>>> Geoff Read < at NIWA.CO.NZ> 03/09/06 11:33 AM >>>
> We found  that about 3/4 of the time authorship is not cited at all and
> that it  tends to cluster in those categories where one would expect it
> (Zoology, Ecology).   In most cases it simply is not done.

One would have to consider whether it was necessary in each case before
deciding if this is bad practice.  If paper writers can't even get  species
name spellings right then they're pretty hopeless. But I see it frequently -
letters transposed, sound alikes, ancient obsolete genera.  What sort of
refereeing are they getting? Is it the uninformed approving other uninformeds?
But there are other instances where spurious gravitas is added by including
the binominal author when the paper writer has more likely than not got the
identification wrong. If the ids are casual and not much better than guesses
anyway then I'd prefer writers not to include authors.

  Geoff Read < at>

More information about the Taxacom mailing list