[Taxacom] Why stability?

Mary Barkworth Mary.Barkworth at usu.edu
Wed Apr 29 17:51:42 CDT 2015


IMO. It is not the lack of a catchy name that has prevented the practice of citing the reference used for identification in giving a scientific name but the insistence by taxonomists that one should cite the original author(s) of the combination and that this provides accuracy of interpretation. It was not until the Vienna Botanical Congress of 2005 (or thereabouts) that the wording the botanical code read "In publications, particularly those dealing with taxonomy and nomenclature, it **may** be desirable, even when no bibliographic reference to the protologue is made, to cite the author(s) of the name concerned ...". Before that it read as if one always had to cite the authors - and all journal and book editors wanted the works they published seen to be good science so they required citation of the original authors and people that became faculty said it was necessary too. 
So we have to change a culture. That is always difficult.  I have been told I do not understand nomenclature for  arguing that one should cite the reference used to determine the name (a flora or some such). The objections that I have heard are that someone is simply using the name they were told by someone else or that they know the plant so well they do not know whether it has ever had another concept, or that they are using the concept they have developed. 
One reason I like the Symbiota data entry form is that it provides for citing the reference used (although perhaps it should be visible by default?) but taxonomists have spent decades convincing people that, to be good science, the original authors of scientific names should be cited. We should not be surprised if it takes a similar length of time to change the practice. Do those of you that are journal editors ask for information as to the reference used for an identification or for the original authors of the combination. 
Mary






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