[Taxacom] e-publishing and the "taxonomic impediment"

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Wed Sep 5 00:56:58 CDT 2012


somewhat hard to fathom the rationale ... perhaps the botanists are the new "Joneses", or, dare I say it, the new "Kardashians", and the zoologists just have to keep up (even if they don't know why!) ...


From: Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
To: 'Stephen Thorpe' <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
Sent: Wednesday, 5 September 2012 5:39 PM
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] e-publishing and the "taxonomic impediment"

Hi Stephen,

I'll leave it to others to debate the influence of e-publication on the
taxonomic impediment.

However, having been intimately involved with the entire process of the
e-publication effort within ICZN since before the original drafting of the
Amendment in Paris, I can ABSOLUTELY guarantee you that this was NOT, in any
way, driven by publishers.  The pressure to accommodate e-publication has
come from the taxonomic community, which ICZN serves.

Aloha,
Rich

> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Stephen Thorpe
> Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2012 3:45 PM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: [Taxacom] e-publishing and the "taxonomic impediment"
>
> Hello Taxacomers,
> I am at a bit of a loss to know how the advent of e-only publication in
zoology
> is supposed to help reduce the "taxonomic impediment", despite the
> apparent claims by the ICZN that it will help to do so, and, indeed, they
make
> this sound like the primary motivation, with just one or two commentators
> making brief note of the fact that it may also be a little bit good
economically
> for publishers (i.e., "the paper impediment to (profitable) publishing").
So,
> what is the so-called "taxonomic impediment"? As I understand it, it
refers to
> difficulties for doing certain sorts of biology (e.g. conservation,
ecology, etc.)
> due to the fact that so many species are still so poorly documented or
> undocumented (i.e. undescribed/unidentifiable) taxonomically. If this is
> what it is, then the implicit claim being made in support of e-only
publishing
> in zoology is that with paper out of the way, the way is clear for a
significant
> increase in the rate of new species  descriptions and/or taxonomic
revisions.
> The problem, as I see it, with this claim, is that I don't think it will
make the
> slightest bit of difference to the rate of description/revision. I don't
think it
> will make any real difference at all to taxonomists, only to publishers.
The
> rate of taxonomy is not limited, I suggest, by the rate at which
publishers can
> churn out hard copy. Rather, it is limited by several other factors, such
as the
> amount of funding available for taxonomy, the number of active taxonomists
> (these things are probably linked), etc.
> Cheers,
> Stephen
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