[Taxacom] Proposed ICZN amendments on electronic publishing

Denis Brothers Brothers at ukzn.ac.za
Thu Dec 4 03:11:18 CST 2008

I welcome the start of discussions on this, and want to reassure everyone that nothing is yet a "done deal". That's why discussion has been invited.

I need to correct something in Dick's message, though. The International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature (ITZN) is a "charity" set up to provide financial support for the work of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN). It therefore pays the salaries of the office staff (the Secretariat), printing and publishing costs for the Bulletin, etc. It has NO input or influence on the actual working of the Commission itself, and certainly does not "own" it. If anyone owns the Commission, then that is the community of biologists or zoologists in particular. The ICZN currently draws its mandate from the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), to which it reports.

Prof. Denis J. Brothers
President, International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature
School of Biological and Conservation Sciences
University of KwaZulu-Natal     (Room 105, John Bews B)
Private Bag X01                        (Carbis Road)
tel: +27 (0)33 260 5106
fax: +27 (0)33 260 5105
e-mail: brothers at ukzn.ac.za

>>> "Richard Petit" <r.e.petit at worldnet.att.net> 2008/12/04 01:07 am >>>

There was minimum discussion about peer review, the bottom line being, as always, that it is not practical.  

As for the on-line only publishing, it will be terrible for many reasons.  Servers go down, lightning strikes, whatever - it is entirely possible that all papers published on-line could be lost.  Then there is the question of knowing about availability, indexing, cataloguing, etc.  Unfortunately all that probably does not matter.  All of the talk about having this approved by the Commision appears to be a smoke screen as it is already a "done deal."  A paleontological journal published out of the BM(NH) [THE Natural History Museum] publishes on-line months before a paper copy is available with replacement names, etc., out there for anyone to use (and possibly preempt the authors). Correspondence with the journal indicates that they think it is reasonable for them to do so.

The telling item, however, is that a former Commissioner, now a member of the I.T.Z.N. (the group that owns the I.C.Z.N.) recently published a book in which he stated about electronic publication that "paper copies can follow on at a leisurely pace, because priority will have been established."   

If the I.T.Z.N. believes that publication on line establishes priority, it seems certain that a Code item to justify it is on the way despite what individual systematists might desire.

dick p.

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