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

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Mon Feb 1 20:30:10 CST 2010

Ed Baker wrote:

>Restricting taxonomic acts to peer-reviewed journals or the notion of a
>taxonomic 'driving license' would possibly discourage some of the thriving
>amateur communities. In many cases amateurs publishing in small, non
>peer-reviewed journals make a significant positive contribution.
>Increasingly for certain groups (in entomology at least) they make the
>majority (or only) contribution. Any changes that affect this would need
>very careful consideration.

No changes that would affect this have been suggested. A competent 
amateur can publish in any number of peer-reviewed journals; if it is 
page charges that are the problem, many journals do not have them, or 
will waive them. A broad enough "white list" will include many 
journals of this nature, and - in the event that there is some 
particular reviewer for a particular journal who has their nose so 
high in the air that they refuse to approve publications by amateurs, 
regardless of the actual merits of their work - then (1) there are 
other journals free of such elitist reviewers, and (2) a journal with 
a conscientious editor should remove such reviewers from their list 
of referees, thus maintaining the reputation of their journal.

A major part of this whole dilemma is the gap between theory and 
practice as to how peer review works. If it worked as intended, all 
the time, there would be little debate. It is up to the taxonomic 
community to decide how to deal with this particular issue, but to 
say that there is no consensus would be a woeful understatement.


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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