[Taxacom] RE revisiting patronym auctions

Karl Magnacca kmagnacca at wesleyan.edu
Sat Aug 16 04:46:36 CDT 2008

On Fri, August 15, 2008 9:38 pm, Stephen Gaimari wrote:
> First of all, please tell me what person who is
> willing to pay $50K up front for a patronym is going to buy it from
> someone with no scientific reputation? Without looking into their
> credentials? If they do, then they are suckers.

Frankly, I think anybody willing to pay $50k for a patronym that is a)
from a reputable, highly credentialed, and ethical taxonomist, and b)
100% guaranteed never to be synonymized, is still a sucker.  But then I
suppose that's the whole point.

> In any case, my guess is that most people employed as systematists
> can’t profit (i.e., into their pocket) from work done under the
> auspices of their job. For my part, even if I wanted to (which I don’t),
> I couldn’t take money into my pocket for doing something I am already
> paid to do (it would be a conflict of interest).

Leaving aside the parts that Doug responded to, I'd just like to point
out that a lot of systematists and taxonomists (myself included) are not
actually employed to do taxonomy, and have to do it in our "free time". 
Many of those at universities are able to do it only by using specimens
collected using money from other grants, and siphoning off the time of
people hired using those grants.  Plus, a lot of college professors are
now on nine-month contracts where they have to find their own salary for
three months.  There is little enough direct funding for taxonomy that I
don't think it would be hard to justify pocketing the money, without
conflict of interest or profit-sharing, in most cases.

Karl Magnacca
Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Zoology
Trinity College, Dublin 2

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