[Taxacom] Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

Stephen Thorpe s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz
Fri Jan 29 19:50:34 CST 2010

the "taxonomy" is interesting here: "rogue taxonomists" is surely a "taxon" with very fuzzy boundaries, which is part of the problem, and why action against the likes of Makhan could easily become the thin end of the wedge leading to the obstruction of people who genuinely have a contribution to make. I speak in part from experience in that I have faced serious obstruction by one or two "professional" taxonomists, whose work I would rate not all that much higher than Makhan's (though they do a good job of hiding that fact behind a smoke screen of bewildering details). Turn this on its head: people like Makhan are in fact giving other taxonomists every opportunity to come along and show how much BETTER they are. Anyway, I can't recall the specific case at present, but just when other coleopterists were synonymising Makhan's taxa as a matter of course, one of them had to reinstate one of Makhan's species when he discovered that Makhan had made a useful observation! I'm not sure if this justifies the rest of the crap DM puts out, but at any rate, one thing is for sure: the more you complain about him, the more he is going to do it ...

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: Saturday, 30 January 2010 2:35 p.m.
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

Bob Mesibov wrote:

>Readers can draw their own conclusions. My point in raising this on
>Taxacom is again to urge that if the ICZN allows e-publication only,
>that it restrict this to a select set of reputable journals.

Speaking as an ICZN Commissioner: (1) not to be nitpicky, but it is
"e-only publication" that we're pushing to allow - the phrase you use
makes it sound like we want to only accept electronic publications.
I've gotten occasional comments that imply that a few people think we
*actually* mean to ban paper publication (that's a different matter
entirely, and not on the ICZN agenda). (2) Restricting e-only pubs to
a "white list" of reputable web journals will not do anything to
prevent disreputable print journals such as "Calodema" from
continuing to damage the taxonomic community. The problem is that it
may be perceived by some (in the Commission and outside it) that it
is easier and more desirable to simply refuse to acknowledge
electronic publication altogether than it is to introduce subjective
criteria such as "Reputability" into the Code.

It would be easy if we had a licensing system and could revoke rogue
taxonomists' licenses, independent of Code-compliance issues. But we
don't. So, we're stuck with them.


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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