[Taxacom] FW: Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

Stephen Thorpe s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz
Mon Feb 1 18:18:00 CST 2010

True, it is at best pointless, but having struggled for some years with corporate bullying from one or two aggressive "bad apple" taxonomists who wanted me out of their area makes me acutely sensitive to some of the problems out there. It is unfortunate that one or two bad apples can taint the whole barrel. I am in a paradoxical situation where I can't do a job properly for the members of a nearby institution who need my services, because the institution won't give me access to the facilities needed to do so, and all because of one or two bullies. I am left to do identifications, not only without access to the "national collection", but also even without access to the associated library! Hence my frustrations, which sometimes boil over on to Taxacom ...


'Dear Stephen - I understand that SBS have elected to place you on staff and recognise that the CBB is an umbrella arrangement between Landcare Research and University of Auckland. However, I do not consider that these coincident arrangements override the fact that you do not have permission to access Landcare Research facilities on the Tamaki campus, and that I see no reason to revisit that situation. On that basis, I do not consider that you are covered under the general arrangement giving UAuckland staff and students associated with the CBB access to Landcare Research Library facilities.
If you need to access library materials in order to identify specimens  for SBS students, I suggest that you have the students involved or their supervisors facilitate this.
Sincerely, David Choquenot
General Manager - Biological Systems
Landcare Research
PO Box 92170 Auckland

From: Richard Zander [Richard.Zander at mobot.org]
Sent: Tuesday, 2 February 2010 12:40 p.m.
To: Wolfgang Wuster; Stephen Thorpe
Cc: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] FW:  Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

This exchange is rebarbative.

re·bar·ba·tive (ri bär′bə tiv)
repellent, unattractive, forbidding, grim, etc.
Etymology: Fr rébarbatif < MFr < (se) rebarber, to resist, earlier to face (the enemy), lit., to face beard-to-beard < barbe, beard < L barba

I imagine two bearded savants arguing unprettily.

Richard H. Zander
Voice: 314-577-0276
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA
richard.zander at mobot.org
Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/
and http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm
Modern Evolutionary Systematics Web site:

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Wolfgang Wuster
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 4:57 PM
To: Stephen Thorpe
Cc: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] FW: Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> No, I have no accusation to make against you. I don't know you. I was just stating the fact that someone (who almost certainly would not want to be named) wrote to me this morning with "criticisms" relating specifically to obstruction by you and your group on other people who are trying to publish in your area. Perhaps they are maliciously making up false accusations - I don't know, but it does rather caste a shadow of doubt over what you are saying, so I thought it relevant to mention. If it isn't true, then you have got nothing to worry about ...

The problem with mud is that it sticks. Particularly when the accusation
cannot be refuted due to lack of specifics or without the identity of
the accuser being known.

The only "obstruction... on other people trying to publish in my area"
that I will happily plead guilty to is pointing out to the editors of
certain hobbyist magazines that publishing one particular author's
personally libellous statements against me might have legal consequences.

> PS: I don't hide behind smokescreens - I simply report the facts, and as for Taxacom "supposed to be a professional list", I don't see any restrictions on membership, but perhaps you would like to impose some ... :)

The term "professional" relates to the standard of conduct one would
expect to see here. I have no problem with strong and vocal
disagreement. However, spreading unspecific and nebulous (and therefore
virtually unanswerable) accusations from anonymous sources falls short
of  a professional standard, IMHO.


Dr. Wolfgang Wüster  -  Lecturer
School of Biological Sciences
Bangor University
Environment Centre Wales
Bangor LL57  2UW
Wales, UK

Tel: +44 1248 382301
Fax: +44 1248 371644
E-mail: w.wuster at bangor.ac.uk

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