[Taxacom] Species descriptions in thesis

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Sat Jun 8 20:48:14 CDT 2013

On 6/8/13 4:55 PM, Marla Schwarzfeld wrote:
> I am describing a number of new species in my Ph.D. thesis, ahead of the
> peer-reviewed journal publication of the descriptions. However I would like
> the published paper to be the official description. Since my thesis will be
> online, and thus technically fulfill the requirements of the Code,
Will you register your thesis in ZooBank? Will your thesis have an ISSN 
or ISBN number? Will you include a statement in ZooBank that tells where 
the document will have its permanent digital archive deposited? If not, 
then there is no way that your thesis could technically fulfill the 
requirements of the Code. In fact, if someone told you that simply 
publishing something online meant it was Code-compliant, then that 
person must not have read the actual amendments to the Code. The entire 
text of the Code is freely available online, at 

In the present case, here is the actual relevant text of the amended Code:

"8.5. Works issued and distributed electronically. To be considered 
published, a work issued and distributed electronically must

8.5.1. have been issued after 2011,
8.5.2. state the date of publication in the work itself, and
8.5.3. be registered in the /Official Register of Zoological 
Nomenclature/ (ZooBank) (see Article 78.2.4 
and contain evidence in the work itself that such registration has 

Examples. Evidence of registration is given by stating information that 
would be known only if the registration has occurred, such as the exact 
date of registration or the registration number assigned to the work or 
to a new name or nomenclatural act introduced in the work. A work issued 
as a PDF may contain the registration number as an embedded hyperlink. 
Even if the registration number is not visible in the normal viewing 
mode of the file or when the work is printed from the file, it is deemed 
to be cited in the work itself because the text of the hyperlink can 
easily be revealed using standard software for viewing PDFs. The entry in the /Official Register of Zoological Nomenclature/ 
must give the name and Internet address of an organization other than 
the publisher that is intended to permanently archive the work in a 
manner that preserves the content and layout, and is capable of doing 
so. This information is not required to appear in the work itself. The entry in the /Official Register of Zoological Nomenclature/ 
must give an ISBN for the work or an ISSN for the journal containing the 
work. The number is not required to appear in the work itself. An error in stating the evidence of registration does not make 
a work unavailable, provided that the work can be unambiguously 
associated with a record created in the /Official Register of Zoological 
Nomenclature/ before the work was published.

Examples. The following are examples of admissible errors: In preparing 
a manuscript an author accidentally deletes the final digit of the 
registration number. An author states the wrong date of registration 
forgetting that ZooBank uses Coordinated Universal Time rather than 
local time. An author registers two works that are in review for 
publication and accidentally uses the same ZooBank number in both 
published versions.

The following are examples of inadmissible errors: An author, in 
preparing a manuscript for publication, states that day?s date for the 
registration date, intending to register it later that day but 
forgetting to do so. The author discovers the omission after the work is 
published and immediately registers it; because registration occurred 
after publication, the work is not available. A publisher discovers 
errors in a work and reissues it to correct those errors, but instead of 
registering the new edition, uses the original ZooBank number; the 
revised edition is not available because it was not separately registered."

There are already cases of people releasing online taxon descriptions 
that violate the requirements stated above, and having their names 
declared unavailable because they are, technically, unpublished. Their 
own fault, because they "published" without ever having read the Code 
itself to see what the requirements actually were, and, in a few cases, 
other people came along and described the same taxa in a Code-compliant 
publication (it can't be a senior synonym or nomen nudum if it was never 
published, so it's gone forever).
> I would
> like to include a statement that the descriptions therein are not the
> “real” species descriptions.  I feel I’ve seen similar statements, but
> can’t find any examples now that I’m looking for one. Does anyone have a
> suggestion for a standard statement that should be included?
"This work is issued with the disclaimer that it is not intended for the 
permanent scientific record, and names and descriptions herein have no 
nomenclatural standing".


Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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