[Taxacom] are early online publications code-compliant?

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Tue Apr 14 04:21:36 CDT 2015

Hi Lyubo,


We’ve been using “new names” in these examples because they are by far the most common Code-governed nomenclatural act.  But, of course, the registry in the “R=A” model would need to encompass ALL nomenclatural acts.  But, if done well, Acts other than new names may well end up as the rare exception (except for historical/retrospective names – which is a whole ‘nother issue).


The Code already takes great pains to separate nomenclature from taxonomy, in terms of what the Code actually governs.  My point is that from the outside perspective, absolutely nothing would change.  The same publications would still be submitted to the same journals with the same content, etc., etc.  The only difference is where the technical action that confers nomenclatural availability takes place.  Historically, and for modern paper-based publications, that action happens only within the published work itself.  For modern electronic publication, actions that confer nomenclatural availability happen in TWO places (the registry, and the published work itself), and it is exactly this asynchrony that sparked the issue that started this thread (among other issues). As the ratio continues to shift away from paper-based nomenclatural acts to electronic nomenclatural acts, the current model (R+P=A) necessitates an increase in this problematic fractioning of nomenclatural availability in two separate actions (registration and publication).


By consolidating actions that confer nomenclatural availability into ONE place (the registry), we can, in the future, simplify the entire process.


>From the perspective of Pensoft and other publishers, nothing would change.  Anyone who would simply perform registrations without publishing the associated taxonomy in a legitimate journal, is probably already self-publishing thin-description names – so no net loss there.  The only real difference is that we could stop wasting so much time arguing about angels on the head of a pin on issues of pre-publication electronic copies, discrepancies between content of works and content of associated registration records, debates about precise dates of availability for purposes of establishing priority, etc.






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




From: Lyubomir Penev [mailto:lyubo.penev at gmail.com] 
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 10:55 PM
To: Richard Pyle
Cc: Stephen Thorpe; Neal Evenhuis; Frank T. Krell; Sue Gardner; John Noyes; Taxa com; gread at actrix.gen.nz
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] are early online publications code-compliant?




I wonder why when discussing the "registration=availability" model, we are talking about new names only? How the model would work for other kinds of nomenclatural (and taxonomic?) acts dealing with names, for example how the model would distinguish between procedures for establishment of, say, objective and subjective synonymies? 


The background of my question is that proposing/publishing/registering of a new name definitely requires a scientific input in some kind of publication format, but often even more scientific effort is needed to justify availability of already existing names.


On a more general perspective, is it even possible to so strictly separate nomenclature from taxonomy?






On Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 3:38 AM, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org> wrote:

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 <tel:%28808%29848-4115> , Fax: (808)847-8252 <tel:%28808%29847-8252>  email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org

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