[Taxacom] Intellectual rights

Adam Cotton adamcot at cscoms.com
Sun Dec 13 07:16:51 CST 2015

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard Pyle" <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
To: "'John Grehan'" <calabar.john at gmail.com>; "'Dr Brian Taylor'"
<dr.brian.taylor at ntlworld.com>
Cc: "'taxacom'" <Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Sunday, December 13, 2015 7:10 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Intellectual rights

> Websites are definitely not considered as "published" in the sense of the 
> ICZN Code.  There are formal rules established in the 2012 Amendment to 
> the Code associated with electronic publication.  However, this discussion 
> concerns taxonomy, not nomenclature, so what the Code regards as a 
> publication is not very relevant.  The reality is that the whole concept 
> of "Publish" is in flux right now (has been for a couple decades; and 
> likely will be for a couple more). The advent of the internet has actually 
> shifted the definition back towards its more original meaning: "to make 
> public".
> Aloha,
> Rich

I agree entirely with Rich here, websites are not recognised as valid
publications under the ICZN Code of Nomenclature, thus new names proposed on
websites would not be treated as validly published. However the Code does
not cover taxonomic acts (eg new synonymy), and since these are basically
subjective opinion, there is no reason why such acts should not be cited as
original work even though they are 'only' published on a website.

In Dr. Taylor's case it is possible that the researchers came to the same
conclusion independently and without ever seeing his website, although this
seems highly unlikely since the website is cited in papers they cited. It is
more likely that the authors were also under the mistaken impression that
websites "do not count" for taxonomic (as opposed to nomenclatural) acts.

The distinction between nomenclature and taxonomy is somewhat subtle, and
many scientists don't even realise there is a difference.

The best guideline for anyone who is uncertain is that anything regulated by
the ICZN Code should be treated as nomenclature and everything else as

More information about the Taxacom mailing list