[Taxacom] Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

Donat Agosti agosti at amnh.org
Sun Jan 31 01:03:28 CST 2010


One way, in my humble view the best, is to raise our standards how we
publish, making use of the Internet and all the fantastic tools we now have
at our fingertips. This way, rogue taxonomists are immediately visible, and
at the same time we have more control on our own work - we can begin to
challenge our hypothesis, because a large part of our resources are online
accessible.

Not only could we make all our publications online accessible, but also the
data, including domain specific digital images, audios, gene-sequences.

This is one more reason to make Zoobank fly as soon as possible and make
sure, that the publications are all linked to the nomenclatorial acts. If
the publications are not deemed open access, then at least the descriptions.


We now do this routinely for all the ant literature, so that we have all the
new taxa are registerd at Zoobank, descriptions online (see
http://tinyurl.com/ydyc869) and if there are links to specimen data, we can
provide access. It would also allow to check whether all the elements are
provided to produce an available name. Why not do this for all taxa? Or even
better, strife for publishing making use of XML to mark up all the relevant
parts upfront?

This way we can improve at the same time our own contributions and show the
dismal state of the rogues and not so rogues.

Donat

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Stephen Thorpe
Sent: Sunday, January 31, 2010 9:01 AM
To: Matthew.Graham at unlv.edu
Cc: mesibov at southcom.com.au; taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu;
Frank.Krell at dmns.org; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

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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