[Taxacom] new nomina nuda (was Re: e-only taxonomic publication)

Stephen Thorpe s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz
Wed Feb 10 20:50:08 CST 2010

Actually, Article 8.6 is very badly worded and rather vague! It seems to me that the writers of the Code didn't really understand e-publication!

Article 8.6. Works produced after 1999 by a method that does not employ printing on paper. For a work produced after 1999 by a method other than printing on paper to be accepted as published within the meaning of the Code, it must contain a statement that copies (in the form in which it is published) have been deposited in at least 5 major publicly accessible libraries which are identified by name in the work itself.

>it must contain a statement that copies (in the form in which it is published)
This is sloppy as! Surely, it should say identical HARD copies! As it is, 'copies (in the form in which it is published)' could mean e-copies, as it was published in e-form! Or does it actually mean deposition of e-copies to libraries??? If it does mean HARD copies, then surely depositing identical hard copies around the place makes it validly published as a hard copy publication! If so, then the e-version is secondary and requires no such statement of deposition!!! Also, it is easy to fulfil the requirements of the article by putting a STATEMENT to that effect in the publication, but does the statement have to be TRUE (i.e., do you have to actually deposit the copies, or can you just state that you have done so)???

...seems to me that the transition to e-taxonomy is a long and painful process ...


From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Doug Yanega [dyanega at ucr.edu]
Sent: Thursday, 11 February 2010 2:26 p.m.
Subject: [Taxacom] new nomina nuda (was Re:  e-only taxonomic publication)

Referring to the new Mecopteroid names in Science that - evidently -
had no code-compliant print versions of their descriptions, Stephen
Thorpe wrote:

>On second thoughts the new generic names are unavailable also (see
>the above caveat about originally included nominal species must be
>cited by an AVAILABLE name). Though, had one of the new genera
>included an already named species, then this would have been type
>species ...

That would indeed be the case; if there were no previously-described,
available taxon names cited, then none of the names in this work
would be available, creating yet another fine mess like Darwinius and
the others.

I've contacted the authors for clarification, and passed this along
to the ICZN mailing list for additional input. Damage control, for
sure, though the responsibility lies with the authors, editors, or
both; however, it doesn't matter how hard a line the ICZN takes,
since *compliance* with the Code cannot be "enforced" in any
meaningful sense (if people want to recognize and use Ren et al.'s
names, then they may well do so despite the names being unavailable -
and if someone subsequently makes those names available, and someone
points out that the Code gives authorship to THAT person, then folks
might STILL ignore the Code and act as if Ren et al. were the
authors). As Frank has pointed out, there are precedents, and
generally speaking, the taxonomic community in these cases (nearly
all of the involved taxa have been fossils, correct, Frank?) has
shown little, if any, sign that they CARE about whether a name is
Code-compliant or not. The reaction is often not "Oh, crud, you're
right - guess we'll have to stop treating these names as valid and
publish new descriptions " but instead "What is *wrong* with these
ICZN bureaucrats, anyway?" (and, I imagine, a protracted session of
eye-rolling and silent mockery every time they read a message from
one of us "rule lawyers").

Rodney Dangerfield would understand.


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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