[Taxacom] Does the species name have to change when it movesgenus?

Daniel Mietchen daniel.mietchen at googlemail.com
Thu Jun 21 14:59:43 CDT 2012

On Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 10:18 AM, Paul van Rijckevorsel
<dipteryx at freeler.nl> wrote:
> From: "Daniel Mietchen" <daniel.mietchen at googlemail.com>
> Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2012 12:21 AM
> [...]
>> For instance, entries about these taxa in places like Wikispecies or
>> Wikipedia cannot use any of the images from the original description
>> in order to explain the characteristics of the taxa in question.
> ***
> Yes, for new taxa that are glamorous enough, this may work out very
> well. Wikipedia draws a lot of attention (at the top of Google lists)
> and thus generates a lot of attention.
The "glamourosity" of taxa has a strong impact on whether they will
have Wikipedia articles, in how many languages and at what quality
level. It has rather limited effect on the position of the Wikipedia
entry on the search engine results pages for relevant search terms.

> Making an entire article available
> should guarantee a good Wikipedia article;
"Facilitate" may be a better term here - "guarantee" is certainly not
right. For instance, taxonomic papers are written for a rather
specialist audience and Wikipedia entries for the public, which
requires a different writing style. Referencing is also different -
basically any Wikipedia entry about a genus or species will have a
link to an explanation of the very concepts of "species" or "genus",
along with links to the type localities, to biographies of the authors
who described the taxa, and so on, whereas this kind of knowledge is
either assumed to be present in the reader of the taxonomic paper, or
hidden in the references.

> if there is one skill that
> the average Wikipedian is sure to have mastered it is that of
> copy-and-paste.
It's not easy to "paraphrase" an image of a newly discovered species,
so copy-pasting would seem to be often appropriate in such cases
(provided the licensing allows for that).

Indeed, a lot of copyright violations happen on the various
Wikipedias, on Wikimedia Commons and on related projects. However,
they rarely come from "the average Wikipedian" and typically last on
the order of minutes to days and thus shorter than elsewhere on the
interwebs. Plus, Wikimedia projects themselves are widely
misattributed (or not attributed at all) as a source of information,
indicating that the copy-and-paste mentality is a wider problem - for
some examples involving SpringerImages and other academic and news
media, see

On the other hand, copy-pasting openly licensed materials is
_allowed_, subject to the terms of the chosen license (most notably
attribution). It is just that we have not (yet) come to grips with
what this means for science communication, and projects like Wikipedia
simply put these rather new copyright principles into practice.


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