[Taxacom] [iczn-list] Call for Comments: Taxonomic Practice and the Code

Kim van der Linde kim at kimvdlinde.com
Wed Jan 8 13:32:57 CST 2014

On 1/8/2014 1:01 PM, Doug Yanega wrote:
> I find it a little disappointing, though not really surprising, that 
> despite my call to NOT initiate a public flurry of comments, several 
> people have felt compelled to do exactly that. However, it does at 
> least afford the opportunity to point out a few additional details.

I am sorry, I should have clarified that I purposefully ignored your 
request. I think that a public discussion of such an explosive issue is 

> On 1/7/14 6:44 PM, Kim van der Linde wrote:
>> I will submit an comment through the formal channels, and it will be 
>> along the line of: HELL NO!
> The solicitation is not phrased as a yes or no question; please read 
> the final paragraph carefully. If I had to summarize the solicitation 
> into a single question, it would be this:
> "Given that we are about to write a new Code, what, if anything, 
> should this new Code say regarding ethics?"
> Does that make things clearer for people?

Okay, let me rephrase my response: NOTHING.

And let me explain why. When the commission gets to police whether 
things are done ethically or not, and whether something is good science 
or not. The questions in the article explicitly states: "including a 
failure to adhere to proper standards of scientific conduct" This is 
opening a can of worms orf each persons own favorite taxon. Why, because 
in order to do this, we first have to define what the "proper standard 
for scientific conduct" are. They are NOT defined in the article, and 
hence we have to assume that after the comments are in, and the 
commission decides that it has a mandate, they go back in chambers and 
craft a set of "proper standards for scientific conduct". What is going 
to be considered improper, and what will be considered proper? Will a 
patronyms be considered improper? Or not. Will ignoring valid names by 
what some consider rogue taxonomists, despite being published correctly 
according to the CODE be considered improper, or will we consider the 
names by the 'rogue' taxonomist improper and therefore invalid?

The CODE's power relies on a voluntary adherence by taxonomists at large 
to the rules. The worst thing that could happen is that if a sizable 
minority gets fed up with ethics rulings and decides to go rogue as a 
group, publishing their own version of the CODE. That would be a mess.

The last thing we want is a disintegration of the CODE/commission into 
multiple fractions. I personally would like to see a discussion about 
how the CODE and the commission can become more relevant for the biology 
community at large, instead of adding an additional explosive aspect to 
its tasks.


More information about the Taxacom mailing list