[Taxacom] are early online publications code-compliant?

Neal Evenhuis neale at bishopmuseum.org
Mon Apr 13 16:28:29 CDT 2015

On Stardate 4/13/15 10:32 AM, "Richard Pyle" <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>

>I've generally been staying out of this discussion -- in part because
>this horse has already been repeatedly beaten to a pulp; and in part
>because I've just been too busy with other things.  However, I happened
>to re-read something just now that PERFECTLY captures my own perspective
>of how to solve all of this:
>"...it seems likely, in the longer term, and with the development of new
>information systems, that the solution will not lie in patching up a
>definition of publication but, rather, in scrapping it and finding a
>means of replacing "publication" as a primary determinant of
>Brilliant!  EXACTLY right, in my opinion!
>By the way, here's the source of the quote:
>[Second paragraph under the heading "Development of underlying

Let's think through what the ramifications of that idea for the "future"
of name availability might entail.

To put things in context, the next paragraph (after the one linked above
by Rich) discusses "registration" of names (thereby implying that this
might be the way to the future of determining availability).

Registration in and of itself has been touted previously on this list (and
the iczn-list) as the simplest way to deal with when a name becomes
available (much like what the bacteriologists do). And it makes sense as
there would be one central place for all registration of names and each
name would be date-stamped as to registration.

But we must look at names as more than just "names" and their date of
availability. In effect, names are the same as patents. They each purport
to be something novel and the author(s) of each want(s) to ensure s/he is
the first to propose that novel entity so registers it: patents with a
patent office and, in our case, names of animals with ZooBank (Priority is
a major factor in registering patents the same or more than it is with
names -- at least monetarily!). But as of now (with ZooBank), no
"evidence" [= criteria of availability] of a proposed name needs to be
included in registration - only the citation of the work in which it

If registration were to replace "publication" as the determinant of
availability of a proposed name, then it would need to be much more than
what ZooBank is now. It would need to be what Doug Yanega has been
advocating for years: a central "journal" for all names so that all the
other criteria of availability of a proposed name meet with compliance of
the required Articles of the ICZN Code. But then, let's not call it a
"journal" anymore because it really is not [remember, we are trying to do
away with "publication" as the medium of verification of a new name].
ZooBank would have to then be a "repository" of all associated data of a
name -- the same as a patent office is with patents. Every patent has
documentation included with it. ZooBank, then, should also have all the
documentation associated with every proposed name. Merely pointing to a
"supposed" publication outside of the registration system can and will be
filled with abuse,  problems, and maybe even non-compliance (as we already
see happening). No, in order for the system to work perfectly, ALL
compliance for the availability of the name MUST be met and deposited in
the registration "repository" upon registration.

In that great pie-in-the-sky, this all seems perfect and with oodles of
Petabyte servers and unlimited funds supporting such a, all-encompassing
registration system, it might even be doable.

However, until employers (mainly in academia) do away with evaluating
their employee taxonomists based on where they publish (i.e., high ranking
journals), many taxonomists will not switch over to this zero-ranking
registration/repository system.

We will, IMO, for the foreseeable future, be "publishing" (electronic or
print) and having to deal with the high ranking journals who tell US what
to do because they have many by the short-and-curlies because those
taxonomists need to keep their jobs and keep publishing in those high
ranking journals. .... And registering names in ZooBank that point to
where they are "published".


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