[Taxacom] are early online publications code-compliant?

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Mon Apr 13 19:38:50 CDT 2015

Hi Stephen,

> For "Registered = Available" to work, either (1) the description would need to
> be given on the registration form itself, or, (2) if a citation to a published
> description is given, then the existence of such would need to be verified. The
> problem with (1) is that taxonomists would gain no vitation credit for describing
> new taxa (unless the registrations themselves were somehow included in the
> citation system). The problem with (2) is that it might take too much work,
> particularly for publications in obscure places.

You're basically referring to Art. 13.1, which I referenced on multiple occasions in my reply to Neal.  Keep in mind the difference between what is necessary for Code Compliance, and what people typically include in a species description.  I generally agree with you on your point #2, so I would probably advocate that we focus on Art. 13.1.1 as the only legitimate pathway to registration in the "R = A" paradigm. It doesn't require much to legitimately provide a description or definition that states in words characters that are purported to differentiate the taxon (most Diagnoses are sufficient, I should think).

> PS: We also have the problem (which we have always had) of new species
> group names being based on fictional type specimens. Such names are
> presumably unavailable, but their availability cannot be determined from the
> work itself. Therefore, availability will always depend on some external
> considerations. I'm not sure if fictional types can be distinguished from lost
> types, so things get complicated ...

Yes!  And... there may be (at least) a partial solution to this.  At the moment the Code technically requires that the new species descriptions (after 1999) must be accompanied, "where the holotype or syntypes are extant specimens, by a statement of intent that they will be (or are) deposited in a collection and a statement indicating the name and location of that collection". (Art. 16.4.2)  Thus, the types don't actually have to ever *BE* deposited in the indicated collection -- only that a statement of intent be included in the original publication.  I can imagine a registration system governed by the 5th Edition of Code that goes a step further than this, and leverages the ever-increasing availability of online access to specimen data (and associated persistent globally unique identifiers to such) as part of the registration process, enabling a much more explicit indication of a type specimen.

Watch this space....


Richard L. Pyle, PhD
Database Coordinator for Natural Sciences | Associate Zoologist in Ichthyology | Dive Safety Officer
Department of Natural Sciences, Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252 email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org


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