[Taxacom] why Martin Fikacek resign

Michael A. Ivie mivie at montana.edu
Wed Oct 7 18:06:28 CDT 2015


Stephen,

Please, explain how exactly the Code makes designating a needed Neotype 
difficult?  I have done it several times, and it has never been difficult.

Mike

On 10/7/2015 4:50 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> Incidentally, the only possible problems arising from the description of this fly are if there turns out to be more than one externally identical species of such fly, in sympatry, with different internal genitalia and/or DNA. Then, we can't ever know which species was described. However, this is essentially the same problem as with early descriptions by Linnaeus, etc., where types no longer exist. The problem is in principle rather easy to solve with a neotype, though the current Code makes that difficult. At worst, one just has to make a choice of which species was described, and hopefully nobody else will insist on a contrary choice! The Code really needs to try to make potential problems easily solvable, rather then creating problems!
>
> Stephen
>
> --------------------------------------------
> On Thu, 8/10/15, Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu> wrote:
>
>   Subject: Re: [Taxacom] why Martin Fikacek resign
>   To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>   Received: Thursday, 8 October, 2015, 11:28 AM
>   
>   Martin:
>   
>   If I might, let me comment on
>   a few things:
>   (1) this fly is not the first
>   animal species described solely from a
>   photograph, nor even the first insect (as far
>   as I can tell, that honor
>   goes to Bebearia
>   banksi, a nymphalid described in 1998 - with thanks to
>   Cosmin Manci for pointing that out to me), so
>   it does not set a
>   precedent; it is simply
>   one of a growing list.
>   (2) the authors did
>   not attempt to conceal the facts of the case, or
>   (for example) refer to a deposited specimen
>   which never existed, so the
>   work cannot be
>   dismissed as fraudulent in any way.
>   (3) if
>   you are concerned about people naming new species based on
>   
>   limited or potentially fabricated evidence
>   even though the Code allows
>   for it, then
>   why not submit a letter to the Commission (with a few
>   thousand signatories, preferably) in favor of
>   amending the Code in such
>   a way as to help
>   prevent what you see as being abusive? For example,
>   establishing a strict set of guidelines for
>   public review of taxonomic
>   works, which
>   must be met before a name will be considered available
>   under the Code, rather than simply accepting as
>   available virtually
>   anything that meets the
>   Code's definition of "published"? I and others
>   -
>   including other Commissioners - have been
>   advocating this sort of change
>   for years
>   now, and oddly there seems to be little public support for
>   
>   such measures. Would you not like to be
>   able to cast a vote for or
>   against any
>   given proposed new name BEFORE being compelled to recognize
>   
>   it? [Case in point: had such a mechanism
>   existed, I would have voted
>   against
>   Bebearia banksi, and in favor of Marleyimyia xylocopae]
>   (4) if you are specifically concerned with
>   issues of quality control in
>   the editorial
>   process at Zookeys, then I might think you'd have a
>   better
>   chance of effecting change by
>   remaining within the system, and pushing
>   for a dialogue on editorial policy there,
>   rather than resigning your
>   post. That is,
>   admittedly, just my two cents as an outsider.
>   
>   As I've noted elsewhere,
>   this particular case was well-documented, and
>   passed what I assume to be a rigorous
>   peer-review process. The authors
>   made a
>   compelling case that this is a new taxon, at the very least,
>   and
>   that is more than I can say for many
>   other recent taxonomic works I've
>   seen
>   for which type specimens DO exist. I rather suspect that the
>   
>   editors and reviewers were entirely
>   prepared to reject this paper had it
>   not
>   appeared to be a "safe bet" to them, and therefore
>   would not judge
>   them as harshly as you
>   appear to be doing. Had this work been authored
>   by someone with no credentials, in a journal
>   with no peer review, I
>   would probably be
>   condemning it, as well; but the Code does not allow us
>   to judge cases by their merits before accepting
>   new names, just by
>   compliance or lack
>   thereof, and at times this can be a problem. If we as
>   a community are concerned about possible abuses
>   of the Code, and we WANT
>   to judge cases
>   based on their merits, then the solution is to change the
>   
>   system - specifically, such that good
>   science will flourish, /and bad
>   science
>   will be rejected/. That much is in our power, it just takes
>   
>   will, commitment, and consensus. Perhaps
>   some day there will be a
>   critical mass of
>   taxonomists who are fed up enough to push for this sort
>   of change, but I've been pushing for 20
>   years now, and it still seems to
>   be all
>   uphill.
>   
>   Sincerely,
>   
>   --
>   Doug
>   Yanega      Dept. of Entomology
>      Entomology Research Museum
>   Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314
>      skype: dyanega
>   phone: (951)
>   827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
>                 http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
>      "There are some enterprises
>   in which a careful disorderliness
>        
>      is the true method" - Herman Melville,
>   Moby Dick, Chap. 82
>   
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-- 
__________________________________________________

Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.

Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
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USA

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