[Taxacom] Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

Stephen Thorpe s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz
Sat Jan 30 23:31:07 CST 2010


True, but the only problem is that some would advocate completely ignoring the publications of what might be deemed to be a "rogue taxonomist", with two potentially bad results:
(1) renaming taxa that have already been validly named by "rogue taxonomists" ; and
(2) publishing the same scientific content again as if it were their own (plagiarism), in the unlikely but nonzero event that the "rogue taxonomist" can actually come up with a good idea now and again ...
For example: http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wollumbinia
Here, Wells correctly identified a new genus and (probably) validly named it, but his work was ignored ...
Of course, we can and should ignore bad classifications if they are proposed, so we don't have to adopt anybody's taxonomy, "rogue" or not, but this is a different issue ...

S

________________________________
From: Matthew.Graham at unlv.edu [Matthew.Graham at unlv.edu]
Sent: Sunday, 31 January 2010 6:21 p.m.
To: Stephen Thorpe
Cc: Frank.Krell at dmns.org; mesibov at southcom.com.au; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu; taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

All,

I agree that the ICZN has some loopholes, but since when did we stop treating taxonomies as hypotheses and start letting the code dictate our opinions about the classification of our beloved organisms for us?  It seems like most taxonomic groups are infected with a few bad taxonomists, but it is up to us, the readers of these papers, to ultimately decide which classification scheme to use… we are not forced to use whatever takes precedence according to the code.

There is the well known debate over renaming many ranid frogs, and folks are publishing using both old and new taxonomies.  Some like using ‘Rana’, while others prefer the recent changes and use ‘Lithobates’.  Both are correct, but eventually I expect that the majority of herpetologists will be using one name, while the other name gradually fades away or new research provides another taxonomic hypothesis.  (Of course this ranid example is more complicated than that, but it illustrates the point)

So who cares if rogue taxonomists are publishing in rogue journals, for it is up to the scientific community to decide to accept or reject their taxonomic hypotheses…. the ultimate peer-review system.

Just my thoughts.

Cheers,

Matt



Matthew R. Graham
PhD Candidate
School of Life Sciences
University of Nevada Las Vegas
4505 South Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154-4004



From:   Stephen Thorpe <s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz>
To:     "Frank.Krell at dmns.org" <Frank.Krell at dmns.org>, "mesibov at southcom.com.au" <mesibov at southcom.com.au>, "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Date:   01/30/2010 09:11 PM
Subject:        Re: [Taxacom] Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?
Sent by:        taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu

________________________________



Yeah Frank, I will probably never see a hard copy of:

Ratcliffe, B.; Krell, F.-T. (eds) 2010: Current advances in Scarabaeoidea research. ZooKeys, 34

and who would bother buying a hard copy, when the pdfs are all free online?

My attitude is that you ahve to assume hard copies exist in accordance with the Code, unless it is proven otherwise, but why bother trying to prove otherwise? Some cans of worms are best left unopened ...

________________________________________
From: Frank.Krell at dmns.org [Frank.Krell at dmns.org]
Sent: Sunday, 31 January 2010 6:00 p.m.
To: Stephen Thorpe; mesibov at southcom.com.au; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

The current situation is even worse. Somebody can post a pdf online and claim that multiple copies have been produced and distributed. We have no means to verify such a claim.
I guess most of us get their literatur electronically anyway. I believe that the pdf from "Entomological Research" that I downloaded yesterday has a hard copy counterpart. Would I ever check? No, because I consider Blackwell a reputable publisher. Have I verified that that new lucanid name is available. No, I just believe it, because I consider Blackwell a reputable publisher.
I also consider PLOS a reputable publisher, but they have occasionally missed to produce paper copies. Low profile journals, such as Munis Entomology and Zoology or Calodema, claim to have hardcopies. I have seen a hardcopy of one volume of the former and know somebody who has seen a hardcopy of one volume of the latter. I don't know if they regularly produce a printrun.  If we find actual paper copies, we don't know whether they were produced 'print-on-demand' (which would not make names available) or originate from an initial printrun.
The current situation, only recognizing works produced by means of an initial printrun, not allowing (= not efficiently regulating) e-only publications, provide all the opportunities to uniformed or unethical taxonomists already. Regulated e-only publications (e.g. with an archiving requirement) are unlikely to make the situation worse.

Frank

Dr Frank T. Krell
Curator of Entomology
Commissioner, International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature
Chair, ICZN ZooBank Committee
Department of Zoology
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Boulevard
Denver, CO 80205-5798 USA
Frank.Krell at dmns.org
Phone: (+1) (303) 370-8244
Fax: (+1) (303) 331-6492
http://www.dmns.org/science/curators/frank-krell





________________________________________
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Stephen Thorpe [s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz]
Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2010 9:13 PM
To: Bob Mesibov; TAXACOM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

Bob, the bad news (or perhaps the good news) is that the situation to date is no better than your "nightmare scenario". According to the present Code, if I wanted to publish new taxa, all I have to do is print out multiple identical hard copies and make them "available" - no journal, no editor, no peer review, ...

________________________________________
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Bob Mesibov [mesibov at southcom.com.au]
Sent: Sunday, 31 January 2010 4:55 p.m.
To: TAXACOM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

The answer to this thread's title question is 'No', if I read the proposed Code amendment properly.

Self-publication has (in recent years, anyway) been seen as something less than ideal in taxonomy. There are plenty of journals that publish taxonomic papers. If you can't get into a reputable, peer-reviewed one, there are outlets like Calodema. In any case, a rogue taxonomist can seek and get the additional personal gravitas that comes with publication in a journal.

The proposed amendments to the zoological Code will allow rogue taxonomists to self-publish hundreds of publications. All they need to do is register their new names and send PDFs of their work to all and sundry, including archiving organisations. Registration will not act as a filter here, and the archivers are not going to send the PDFs back saying 'We don't think this is good taxonomy'.

Note that Makhan, at least, alerts other specialists to his papers, and similarly the e-only rogueof the future can simply email all relevant specialists with a list of the new names and a link to the PDF. Courteous, professional - and scary.

I've read the proposed sections 8 and 9 amendments carefully looking for something that will prevent this from happening. I would be very grateful - really, really grateful - if someone could point to something in the Code that aims to avoid this scenario.
--
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Website: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/mesibov.html

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