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

Stephen Thorpe s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz
Wed Feb 10 16:57:34 CST 2010

Thanks Christopher - this is interesting, but actually a bit more complex than your email suggests. Firstly, I would make the general comment that messes like this one are a direct result of a general "go with the flow" attitude, whereby upholding the rules of nomenclature are increasingly seen to be unimportant, and IMHO the ICZN should take a firm stand rather than just a damage limitation management plan ...
Anyway, from a quick look at this particular case, I agree that the new species names are not available, because there are no explicit holotype designations in hard copy form. However, since the main article is printed as well as electronic, the new generic names are thereby made available if there is only one included species (monotypy), or only one with a "gen. nov. sp. nov" citation! So, we have a truly unfortunate mess involving the creation of available generic names with no available species names! Let's keep to the traditional format for new taxa descriptions, eh?


From: Christopher Taylor [gerarus at westnet.com.au]
Sent: Thursday, 11 February 2010 11:38 a.m.
To: Stephen Thorpe; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] e-only taxonomic publication is safe & accessible

> As an aside, I would be very interested in any "high-profile" names you
> are aware of that weren't published on paper ...

_Science_ and other high-impact, low-pagespace journals have been guilty on
more than one occasion of banishing the descriptions of new taxa to the
online-only supplementary info. One recent example was the description by
Ren _et al._ (2009) of a number of fossil mecopteroids:

Ren, D., C. C. Labandeira, J. A. Santiago-Blay, A. Rasnitsyn, C.-K. Shih, A.
Bashkuev, M. A. V. Logan, C. L. Hotton & D. Dilcher. 2009. A probable
pollination mode before angiosperms: Eurasian, long-proboscid scorpionflies.
_Science_ 326: 840-847.

The names of the new taxa appear in the paper-published article, but the
details necessary to make them more than _nomina nuda_ (such as holotype
designation) do not.


        Christopher Taylor

Christopher Taylor
Dept of Environmental Biology
Curtin University of Technology
GPO Box U1987
WA 6845


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