[Taxacom] Proposed Amendment to the Code

L Penev lyubo.penev at gmail.com
Wed Dec 23 05:28:26 CST 2009

As a publisher of taxonomic works in both online and print form, I feel that
the problems arising with acceptance of e-only publications and their
possible solutions are best outlined and discussed in the comments of George
Garrity and Sue Ann Gardner, as well as in your comments below, Bob.

It seems to me that some of the proposed amendments of the Code determining
the validity of e-only publications must become more rigorous. Several
clauses could be made mandatory and set up in front not only of authors but
through them and /or directly to PUBLISHERS as well! For example, I would
suggest the following:

1.      Open access (OA) – *mandatory* for taxa descriptions on the day of
publication (Gold OA) and *highly recommended *for the whole papers where a
new taxon is described. How to separate new taxa descriptions from the rest
of the respective papers then to avoid copyright problems? Providing XML
files of new taxa descriptions to recognized repositories such as EOL and
taxon-based aggregators or linking XML files to the Official Register would
be an relatively easy way to solve the problem and to ensure an immediate
availability and long-term persistence of descriptions. Needless to say, the
best possible policy here is to recommend Gold OA for the taxonomic works in

2.      Archiving – it is obvious that both most popular formats to preserve
published information in e-form (XML and PDF) need to be used. PDFs because
they are just an e-analog to printed publications which will be existing in
parallel. XMLs because of reasons well-explained in  George’s comments. Let
me add that PubMedCentral requires archived papers to be submitted in (1)
PDF (2) XML validated by the NLM DTD and (3) separate set of all image files
published within a paper. Hence, it should be *required *a taxonomic paper
to be archived in both PDF and XML formats.

3.      Archives – for the reasons explained above, it would be good to
require depositing in one *mandatory* archive (i.e., PubMedCentral, if they
are willing to accept that) and one additional among few ISO-certified *
recommended* international archives. Institutional, personal or strictly
national repositories are welcome but should not be recommended as a method
of archiving/validation of an e-publication. It seems to me that Portico and
BHL seem to be good candidates to be listed as additionally recommended
repositories. The good news with PubMedCentral is that their NLM TaxPub
schema is already published and currently is in an active phase of
development and improvement.

4.      Relation between online and print publications. To avoid any
confusion in the future, it must be required the printed version of an
online publication to be fully correspondent to its published PDF form,
including color.

Well, maybe the suggestions look too rigorous in parts, but if the
alternative will be an ever increasing mess, it is a matter of consensus
within the community what to sacrifice, the liberty or the safety?

Best regards and Merry Christmas to all!


Dr Lyubomir Penev
ZooKeys Managing Editor
Pensoft Publishers
13a Geo Milev Street
1111 Sofia, Bulgaria
Fax +359-2-8704282
info at pensoft.net

On Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 1:25 AM, Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>wrote:

> I second George Garrity's comment about the wording of proposed Article
> 78.2.4 and the issue of who will maintain the Official Register:
> "...the Commission needs to either decide to take on this task in an
> official and responsible manner, using proven technology, or suffer the
> consequences of allowing others to take on the task outside of their
> control."
> I also support Noela Bajjali's comment:
> "If the Code permitted new animal names to be published in online
> publications that could demonstrate that they were subject to deposit with a
> national library or other established collecting body, this should ensure
> longer-term accessibility of the publication as the collecting institution
> would address the issue of long-term
> preservation formats and storage. This would be likely, of course, to
> exclude the small ‘self-published’ e-publications, some with only a very
> short life-span, and perhaps reduce the risk of accepting taxonomy published
> within publications with less rigorous editorial review or publishing
> standards."
> except that I would replace her word 'permitted' in the first sentence with
> 'required'. e-publication is much, much easier than paper publication. We
> don't want to replace the current large number of print outlets for
> taxonomic publications with an even larger number of e-outlets. There is an
> argument that e-outlets are easier to locate than print ones because they
> are all somewhere on the Net and a certain large American corporation can
> find them for us in a second or two. This is a naive extrapolation of the
> online world of the past ca 10-15 years into a long and uncertain future. A
> safer approach is to tie e-publication to e-archiving as tightly as
> possible. The simplest way to do this is to restrict availability of names,
> etc to those in online publications with demonstrated links to information
> repositories. The widely used journals Zootaxa and ZooKeys already do this.
> The ICZN should compile and maintain a list of such journals.
> Yes, this would be a restriction on a taxonomists' freedom to publish in
> whatever journal they like. On the other hand, it would encourage online
> journals to take the easy steps necessary to properly archive what they
> publish, in order to get on the ICZN's approved list. This would mean more
> choice for taxonomists.
> I also strongly support Garrity's comment that XML is a wiser choice for
> digital archiving than PDF. It's also a wiser choice for publication in
> future, even if XML evolves. The principle that presentation and content
> should be separated is a sound one and allows all non-image content to be
> reduced to ASCII text. This is how other authors' content is delivered to us
> by our Web browsers, and how authors should, in future, be delivering
> content to the servers our browsers access. The tight coupling of
> presentation and content which began with handwriting and lingers today in
> word processing software is an anachronism in the online world.
> --
> Dr Robert Mesibov
> Honorary Research Associate
> Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
> School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
> Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
> (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
> Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/mesibov.html
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Dr Lyubomir Penev
ZooKeys Managing Editor
Pensoft Publishers
13a Geo Milev Street
1111 Sofia, Bulgaria
Fax +359-2-8704282
info at pensoft.net

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