[Taxacom] why Martin Fikacek resign

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Wed Oct 7 19:01:09 CDT 2015

Ah, Mike, my favourite sparring partner! Well, perhaps you could give me an example of your attempts to validly designate neotypes, and I will then reconsider my statement accordingly, though, please bear in mind that "difficult" is a vaguely defined continuum, and I didn't specify how difficult exactly. At the very least, Art. 75 of the Code is rather long winded, and therefore somewhat "difficult" to get one's head around. It could do with simplification.


On Thu, 8/10/15, Michael A. Ivie <mivie at montana.edu> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] why Martin Fikacek resign
 To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 Received: Thursday, 8 October, 2015, 12:06 PM
 Please, explain how exactly
 the Code makes designating a needed Neotype 
 difficult?  I have done it several times, and
 it has never been difficult.
 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
 > On Thu, 8/10/15, Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu>
 >   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
 >   a few things:
 >   (1) this fly is not the
 >   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)
 >   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,
 >   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
 >   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
 >   process at
 Zookeys, then I might think you'd have a
 >   better
 >   chance of effecting change
 >   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
 >   this particular
 case was well-documented, and
 >   passed what I assume to be a
 >   peer-review
 process. The authors
 >   made
 >   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
 >   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
 >   uphill.
 >   Sincerely,
 >   --
 >   Doug
 >   Yanega      Dept. of
 >      Entomology Research
 >   Univ. of
 California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314
     skype: dyanega
 >   phone: (951)
 >   827-4315 (disclaimer:
 opinions are mine, not UCR's)
 >      "There are some
 >   in which a
 careful disorderliness
 >      is the true method" - Herman
 >   Moby Dick, Chap.
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 Montana Entomology
 Marsh Labs, Room 50
 1911 West Lincoln Street
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 The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be
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 Celebrating 28 years of
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