[Taxacom] Paper on taxonomic standards in herpetology

Neal Evenhuis neale at bishopmuseum.org
Wed May 15 15:34:55 CDT 2013


We've gone down his road before -- probably more than once.

The Introduction to the Code (p. xix) has as its first principle upon which the Code is based:

"The Code refrains from infringing upon taxonomic judgement, which must not be made subject to regulation or constraint." The Code does not censor, suppress, or regulate publications unless they are deemed to infringe upon the stability of universality of scientific names of animals (= nomenclature; NOT taxonomy). Not the stability of species, which is being argued here. You can have 2, 3, or even 200+ (thanks, Robineau-Desvoidy) names for one species.

So, if someone publishes in peer-reviewd journals or not, if they comply with the Code, they have made available a name that someone else may not agree with. In some cases, they may have proposed over 200 names for one species. This has happened since the beginning of scientific publications and will continue.

Peer-review is actually a fairly recent phenomenon. Until the 1900s, books were published with no peer review and papers were read at society meetings and published with little changes except proof reading the typesetting by the author. Not much different than publishing in your own journal. And that was the way scientific publications were done for many years. Peer-review only began in earnest in the 20th century. If we all of a sudden restrict naming species to only be in peer-reviewed journals, we will have to then suppress quite a few names in the history of scientific publication.

I do not condone self-publication combined with lack of peer-review, but it has existed for hundreds of years and will continue. Taxonomist have to clean up whatever "mess" that some perceive. Robineau-Desvoidy is dead and his 200+ names are now safely sunk with little prospect of him resurrecting them.

Harold St. John was a botanist working here at the Bishop Museum when he retired from the University. In the late 1980s, a Manual of Flowering Plants of the Hawaiian Islands was being made by three botanists acting as editors. Two of the three (who did virtually all of the work except the preface) went through all the herbarium sheets for Hawaiian plants and synonymized a number of St. John names that he had published. Undaunted, he continued to publish more names in a battle to get more names published and the three editors continued to sink his names after his publications appeared. He then resorted to publishing more quickly and getting more names out by publishing only short Latin diagnoses in Phytologia -- a non-peer reviewed journal published by Harold Moldenke. Hundreds of names were published in this fashion and as many as possible were eventually synonymized by three editors; and I believe even a few after the Manual appeared in print in 1990. But some were good species -- so not all were sunk.

That typifies what we as taxonomists have been doing since Linnaeus and will continue to do. Cleaning up after others.

The Hosers,and Hawkeswoods, and Lehrers and Motschulsky's and Robineau-Desvoidys of the world will always exist. The ICZN is not there to censor their views, no matter how they decide to publish. That would be infringing on the primary principle of the Code.

-Neal

On 5/15/13 10:05 AM, "JF Mate" <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com<mailto:aphodiinaemate at gmail.com>> scribbled the following tidbit:

True, but they would have to be married in the first place :). Still, all
laws can be bent if you try hard enough including the ones in my copy of
the ICZN. And yet here it is, a set of rules which have been enacted in the
hope that most people will follow them (more or less). Unless of course
this is the last copy because we are giving up altogether and going back to
the 19th century. If so I am selling names ;).

Jason


On 15 May 2013 21:54, <Frank.Krell at dmns.org<mailto:Frank.Krell at dmns.org>> wrote:

Well, then, transfer the ownership of that journal to your wife.
If somebody wants to publish things, he or she will find ways, independent
of how tough the regulations are.

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<mailto:Frank.Krell at dmns.org>
Phone: (+1) (303) 370-8244
Fax: (+1) (303) 331-6492
http://www.dmns.org/science/museum-scientists/frank-krell
lab page: http://www.dmns.org/krell-lab

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science aspires to create a community of
critical thinkers who understand the lessons of the past and act as
responsible stewards of the future.




-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> [mailto:
taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>] On Behalf Of JF Mate
Sent: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 1:48 PM
To: Taxacom
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paper on taxonomic standards in herpetology

"To close this supposed loophole you would have to totally redefine the
criteria constituting a published work (ie. Article 8), especially if you
would restrict all nomenclatorial acts to peer reviewed journals only."

It seems that the issue is limited to section 8.1, as to what constitutes
a valid work. Adding additional limitations to the effect of avoiding
flagrant conflict of interests (i.e. you can´t own the journal, be the
editor and publish in it simultaneously) should be possible without
impinging too much on the varied offer of publication outlets that we
currently have.

Jason


On 15 May 2013 21:09, Adam Cotton <adamcot at cscoms.com<mailto:adamcot at cscoms.com>> wrote:

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "JF Mate" <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com<mailto:aphodiinaemate at gmail.com>>
> To: "Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>>
> Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2013 1:43 AM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paper on taxonomic standards in herpetology
>
>
> Ah, well this is something I didn´t know about the code, a loophole
> you could drive a bus through. Thanks Frank. Now for the follow-up
question.
> What are chances of closing said loophole? I am certain there are
> reasons why it hasn´t happened yet but it is interesting for the more
> naive like me.
>
> Jason
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> To close this supposed loophole you would have to totally redefine the
> criteria constituting a published work (ie. Article 8), especially if
> you would restrict all nomenclatorial acts to peer reviewed journals
only.
>
> Adam.
>
>
>
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