[Taxacom] e-only taxonomic publication is safe & accessible

Stephen Thorpe s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz
Wed Feb 10 14:28:20 CST 2010

I restate my previous point: currently we have paper + electronic. The advantages of electronic are clear, but what are the disadvantages of paper, other than that it is expensive? Isn't the continuation of both better/safer than any one alone? Will greater profits resulting from not having to print paper be put back into taxonomy, or will it just make publishers wealthier? What does the taxonomic community (minus publishers) get out of discontinuing paper? Bob Mesibov fears that there may be negative consequences due to "taxonomic vandalism" becoming easier. One answer to that is to restrict the range of e-journals that can publish taxonomy, but then I worry that the restrictions will go beyond what is necessary to prevent "taxonomic vandalism", and lead to "taxonomic elitism"...


From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Michiel Thijssen [Thijssen at brill.nl]
Sent: Wednesday, 10 February 2010 11:01 p.m.
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] e-only taxonomic publication is safe & accessible

Dear All,

Would biologists / zoologists have to publishing new species in a
journal as soon as it decides to become an e-only journal and no longer
appears in print (not even on demand), even though it continues to
ensure proper peer review and preservation of the electronic content?

As a publisher of books and journals in taxonomy and systematic biology,
I read this list with growing interest. I believe the following
information may be of interest for the debate on whether e-only
publication is safe, i.e. whether e-only publication is "an archival
medium that meets the requirement for a permanent scientific record"
(quote from Pat Lafollete's post of 8 Feb). Also, I would like to add a
note on accessibility.

Safe electronic preservation:
Have you heard of CLOCKSS, http://www.clockss.org/clockss/Home? It
stands for Controlled LOCKSS = Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe. Digital
preservation of published content is also done at Portico
(http://portico.org/about/content_digitally_preserved_alpha.html) and
the Dutch Royal Library (KB, http://www.kb.nl/hrd/dd/index-en.html).
While one may argue that Portico and the KB are safe as long their
physical server locations are operational, CLOCKSS is a distributed way
for libraries and publishers to secure content electronically in case of
local 'trigger events' or when a publisher goes out of business. Would
any of these facilities meet the requirements?

Access to archives, print and electronic:
While printed copies of journals and books may still be there in 100
years with "reasonable and justified expectation" (quote from Pat
Lafollete's post of 8 Feb), having access to this print archive is as
important. Something that cannot be accessed, or only by a small group,
is not available. Related to this, I would also like to mention the
EU-funded and other projects for emulation and migration of e-data to
ensure that computers of the future can still read our current
electronic content. Some links and info about this are on the above KB

This is my first Taxacom post ever and I hope it adds to the debate and
the decision making within the ICZN and the plant taxonomy's counterpart
- apologies if this info was posted before I joined the list. Last but
not least I should clarify my impartiality: my company, Brill, does not
deposit content at CLOCKSS (but with both Portico and the KB), nor do I
personally nor my company have an interest in these organizations.

Michiel Thijssen
Michiel S. Thijssen, MSc
Senior Acquisitions Editor, Science & Biology
E-mail: thijssen at brill.nl, Web: http://brill.nl/
Voice: +31-71-5353 594; Fax: +31-71-5317 532
Office address (also for courier): Plantijnstraat 2, 2321 JC Leiden, The
Mailing address: P.O. Box 9000, 2300 PA Leiden, The Netherlands

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