[Taxacom] e-only publication for zoology, starts today

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at freeler.nl
Fri Sep 7 02:35:16 CDT 2012

From: "Richard Pyle" <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
Sent: Thursday, September 06, 2012 9:12 PM

Thanks, Paul -- this is very good analysis.  Even if it is only an academic
discussion, I think it's very important to have.  I view this period between
the Amendment taking effect and the time at which the 5th Edition takes
effect as being very useful for discovering issues that can be addressed in
the 5th Edition.  In 2008, I was opposed to the entire idea of the Amendment
because I felt it would be better use of our time to focus on the 5th
Edition.  However, I'm now very happy for the Amendment, because it provides
an opportunity for us to learn valuable lessons while crafting the 5th

I cannot over-emphasize my earlier statement that the slopes are slippery in
all directions.  This is the risk we accept in order to make progress.

Thank you. I am more and more convinced that there are two ways
to read the Amendment.

1. Read the "be registered" in a wide sense. The by now infamous
March 2012 publication was registered at the time in ZooBank
and its electronic version has now (with the Amendment etc),
retroactively come into existence as a publication in the sense
of the zoological Code, with a publication date in March. This
is a simple and clean way to go about it. What may freak out
many users is the retroactive aspect, which is a hard thing to
grasp for those not accustomed to it.

2. Read the "be registered" in the narrow sense, as per Stephen
Thorpe. No electronic publication can exist, in the sense of the
zoological Code, until all the requirements in and
are met. This actually is messy, as we are now dealing with three
dates: 1 January 2012 (when electronic publication became
formally possible), 4 September 2012 (when the Amendment
was announced, and the possiblity of indicating an Archive was
created) and 6 September (or whenever the Internet addresses
were added that a strict reading of the Amendment shows are
required). The average user will be confused by these three dates
and is completely unable to check for himself if requirements
were met at the time of publication, as ZooBank-entries are
being changed after the fact. Also, we are now dealing with two
kinds of registration in ZooBank. Up to the announcement of the
Amendment, ZooBank did register publications (in a
non-Amendment-compliant manner), and after the announcement
of the Amendment ZooBank also does register publications (but
now in an Amendment-compliant manner). So we are dealing with
"registration" as used by ZooBank, and "registration" as
required by the zoological Code. As I said, messy.

>From a nomenclatural perspective (for the purposes of
priority, etc), it appears to make no difference which way
of reading is adopted, as the first way of reading will just
create electronic publications of which the simultaneous paper
version already existed, so all the nomenclatural acts were
already there. In adopting the second way of reading there is
a theoretical danger for e-only publications made on
4 and 5 September (before Internet adresses were
added) as these should now stop existing, but presumably
these are vanishingly few in number. However, on general
principles, the first way of reading is preferable as being
much cleaner, and unencumbered by uncheckable details.


All in all, what creeps up upon me is that it is not a good idea to
have mutable ZooBank-entries as part of a retroactive set of Rules.
It should not be to difficult to have ZooBank produce, per entry,
something like a Certificate of Registration, in an immutable format
(say, a PDF), stating such facts as the Amendment requires a
registration entry in ZooBank to contain. This will make the
process much more transparent (that is, the average user can
check for himself that things are in order).


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