[Taxacom] why Martin Fikacek resign

Michael A. Ivie mivie at montana.edu
Fri Oct 9 16:48:59 CDT 2015


[sigh]  It is not difficult, but you do have to follow the strictures in 
the Code.  Think of those strictures more as a road map to success than 
difficult barriers.  They are not difficult for a reasonably intelligent 
person qualified to be handling nomenclatural maters who can read either 
the Official English or French versions of the Code, or one of the 
unofficial translations into Chinese (Simplified), Chinese 
(Traditional), Czech, German, Greek, Japanese, Russian or Spanish.

Further, the issue of whether it is difficult to DESIGNATE a Neotype is 
separate from whether or not a Neotype is allowed, which is what John 
and I were discussing.  But, that is not hard either.

Exceptional (def.) adjective, unusual; not typical.

Clear to those who want it to be, perhaps not to those who want attention.

Mike

On 10/9/2015 3:00 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> All of which further proves my point that the Code requirements for neotypes are somewhat "difficult", or else we wouldn't be having such divergent opinions offered from veteran entomologists!
>
> Q.E.D.
>
> --------------------------------------------
> On Sat, 10/10/15, Michael A. Ivie <mivie at montana.edu> wrote:
>
>   Subject: Re: [Taxacom] why Martin Fikacek resign
>   To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>   Received: Saturday, 10 October, 2015, 6:47 AM
>
>   Dear John,
>
>   That (a Neotype) would only be
>   valid if there is some confusion about
>   the
>   identity.  The Code does not allow Neotypes in cases where
>   there is
>   no confusion about what the
>   species is.  In this case there is nothing
>   known that is even close to it, so its identity
>   is not confused.  The
>   authors covered that
>   well in the description.
>
>   Mike
>
>   On
>   10/9/2015 3:30 AM, John Noyes wrote:
>   >
>   Hi,
>   >
>   > It seems that
>   in this case it should be possible to designate a neotype
>   from an extant, preserved specimen. So muDear ch the better
>   if the neotype is the holotype of a previously described
>   species so that the  "new" species can be treated
>   as a junior synonym [although in this particular case that
>   seems unlikely]. It can be safely assumed that the
>   photographed holotype no longer exists. So long as the
>   specimen designated as neotype is pretty damned similar to
>   the one in the photograph and all other conditions of
>   designating a neotype are met according to the ICZN then I
>   cannot see a problem.
>   >
>   > Maybe that is too mischievous??
>   >
>   > John
>   >
>   > John Noyes
>   > Scientific Associate
>   >
>   Department of Life Sciences
>   > Natural
>   History Museum
>   > Cromwell Road
>   > South Kensington
>   >
>   London SW7 5BD
>   > UK
>   >
>   jsn at nhm.ac.uk
>   > Tel.: +44 (0) 207 942 5594
>   > Fax.: +44 (0) 207 942 5229
>   >
>   > Universal
>   Chalcidoidea Database (everything you wanted to know about
>   chalcidoids and more):
>   >
>   www.nhm.ac.uk/chalcidoids
>   >
>   > -----Original Message-----
>   > From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu]
>   On Behalf Of Stephen Thorpe
>   > Sent: 07
>   October 2015 21:04
>   > To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu;
>   bayshark at exemail.com.au
>   > Cc: penev at pensoft.net
>   > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] why Martin Fikacek
>   resign
>   >
>   > I'm
>   sure that people are playing right into Lyubo's hands by
>   adding to the publicity about this (any publicity is good
>   publicity!) Pensoft are a commercial publisher. I have
>   pretty much given up on them as well, largely because
>   Biodiversity Data Journal has now become little more than a
>   venue for promotional papers, miles away from its initially
>   stated philosophy.
>   >
>   >
>   Nevertheless, many of the reasons cited against describing
>   new species from photos are quite unconvincing. Why is
>   palaeontology considered to be science? An impression in
>   rock, or a partly obscured amber inclusion are both on a par
>   with a photograph, given that you can't see all the
>   relevant characters, you can't dissect, and you
>   can't extract DNA (most of the time).
>   >
>   > It would be a very
>   bad idea to describe a new species of hydrophilid beetle
>   (Martin Fikacek's speciality) from photograph(s) of a
>   live specimen, but this may not apply equally to other
>   groups of organisms. Iterestingly, Fikacek does describe
>   fossil hydrophilids!
>   >
>   > One thing, however, that Marshall &
>   Evenhuis did misinterpret from the Code relates to
>   "Designation of an illustration of a single specimen as
>   a holotype is to be treated as designation of the specimen
>   illustrated". This is actually quite irrelevant!
>   Designating a specimen as holotype via a photograph, is what
>   Marshall & Evenhuis have done. This is very different
>   from designating a photograph of a specimen as holotype! The
>   above quote from the Code simply reduces the latter to the
>   former, but that is irrelevant here.
>   >
>   > As for Vratislav's P.S.: >If this
>   will continue, anybody can create not just new species, but
>   complete new family using just Photoshop.<
>   >
>   > Anybody can and
>   always could do effectively that anyway. Write a verbal
>   description based on fictional characters, maybe add a few
>   fanciful drawings, and conveniently claim the holotype to
>   have been subsequently lost. Lost holotypes do not
>   invalidate described taxa.
>   >
>   > Stephen
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   --------------------------------------------
>   > On Wed, 7/10/15, bayshark at exemail.com.au
>   <bayshark at exemail.com.au>
>   wrote:
>   >
>   >   Subject: [Taxacom] why Martin
>   Fikacek resign
>   >   To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>   >   Received: Wednesday, 7
>   October, 2015, 9:44 PM
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   https://www.facebook.com/martin.fikacek.7/posts/10206448754731807
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   I just
>   resigned for the position of editor in ZooKeys for  two
>   reasons: by  the recent publication of a description of a
>   new species  based on photos  ZooKeys evidently decided
>   for the direction of "bad science  and good
>   publicity" which is the direction I cannot support.
>   In  addition, they  recently introduced a new automatic
>   system "bullying"
>   >   editors, which now
>   >   makes editors basically
>   non-paid slaves with very limited  decision power. I
>   simply cannot work for such a journal anymore. Sorry to
>   everybody, and  thanks for years of author-editor
>   cooperation.
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   My
>   letter to editors is attached below:
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   Dear editors,
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   I was
>   really shocked when I discovered the paper entitled
>   "New species  without dead bodies: a case for
>   photobased descriptions,  illustrated by a  striking new
>   species of Marleyimyia Hesse (Diptera,
>   >   Bombyliidae) from South
>   >   Africa" published few
>   days ago in ZooKeys. The paper is  exremely dangerous  for
>   several aspects:
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   (1) It misuses the weak parts
>   of the Code which were  originally designed to  keep some
>   very old names valid, which were described in  historical
>   publications mostly in 18th century. In difference to what
>   the authors are  writing in the paper, this Article was not
>   designed to solve  the situation  with lost holotypes, but
>   to keep valid the names which were  really based  only on
>   illustrations in times when no rules were given as  it
>   concerns the  quality of taxonomic descriptions. Using the
>   same Article  for today is  really ridiculous attempt to
>   use this Article to cheat the  system. Moreover,  note the
>   word "illustration" in the text of the Article
>   (i.e. NOT a
>   >   photograph!!!)
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   (2) It
>   makes a very dangerous precedence for future  generations.
>   Now  everybody may try to describe a new big insect
>   (cetonid  beetle, wasp,
>   >   butterfly) based just on the
>   photographs. I am sure good  entomologists will  not do
>   that, or would at least do that only once all needed
>   characters are  really visible. Unfortunately the
>   entomology is full of  crazy individuals  focused only in
>   describing new taxa and producing new names,  no need to
>   give  examples as everybody knows some of them. These
>   individuals  were difficult  to deal with even until now,
>   basically producing chaos in  taxonomy of  particular
>   group and partly causing that taxonomy is often  considered
>   as  non-scientific. You now opened a brand new way for
>   these  people how to do  even worse work!
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   (3) In
>   my opinion neither the authors of the above paper,  nor the
>   editorial  board is evidently not aware of the reason why
>   voucher  specimen (holotype)  is needed when a species is
>   describe. It is not because the  author should  have it
>   easy to illustrate all needed characters. It it  because
>   only the  specimen itself form a firm base for the name.
>   All taxonomic  work,  identification of next specimens
>   found etc. is in fact  testing the  hypothesis that the
>   specimens in your hand are conspecific  with the
>   holotype.  To test that hypothesis, you may re-examine
>   the holotype, extract  new characters which were not stated
>   or illustrated in the  original  description etc. Testing
>   the hypothesis and providing the  way how to falsify  it
>   is what makes taxonomy a science! In case of the new  South
>   African  species, nothing of this is possible - nobody will
>   ever be  able to test the  hypothesis that the specimens
>   in hand are conspecific with  the holotype (and  no other
>   characters will be ever known than those  illustrated on
>   the  photos). This basically moves this paper (and taxonomy
>   in
>   >   general) REALLY
>   >   OUT OF SCIENCE. Hence, this
>   is a step backward, not an  innovative way as you  present
>   it.
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   I
>   appreciate the effort of Pensoft and ZooKeys to try
>   innovative ways of  taxonomic publishing. However, I would
>   expect that you would  think about  your steps and
>   decision properly, evaluating the possible  risks of such
>   steps for the future of taxonomy. I did not notice
>   anything  like that in  your actions and decisions within
>   last months, including the  publication of  the above
>   paper. Editorial board is never consulted in such  cases,
>   and if  the editors provide their critique, this is rarely
>   followed.
>   >   In opposite,
>   >   you recently introduced a
>   system of "bullying" the editors.
>   >   I understand all
>   >   these actions in the way that
>   editors are just workers you  use FOR FREE (we  are not
>   paid for that), but never as partners with whom
>   problematic things  should be discussed.
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   To sum
>   up - by publishing the photo-based description of
>   Marleyimyia,  ZooKeys moves into the position of journals
>   trying to break  up the good  practices in taxonomy for
>   the sake of publicity. Its not  only "the border of
>   taxonomic malpractice", it is in fact the "border
>   of  non-science". I do not  want to provide my time
>   to the journal going in this really  dangerous  direction.
>   That is why I am resigning immediatelly from the  editorial
>   board  of ZooKeys.
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   Thanks for understanding!
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   With
>   best regards
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   Martin
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   Vratislav
>   >
>   >   (name)
>   Vratislav Richard Eugene Maria John Baptist
>   >
>   >   (surname) of Bejšák (read
>   as a
>   >   Bayshark)-Colloredo-Mansfeld
>   >
>   >   website:
>   www.coleoptera.org
>   >
>   >   address: P.O.Box 3335 ,
>   Redfern, NSW 2016  AUSTRALIA
>   >
>   >   phone : +61 0420602040
>   >   http://www.facebook.com/bayshark
>   >   alternate email: bayshark at ymail.com
>   >   (to iPhone)
>   >
>   >
>   >
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>   --
>   __________________________________________________
>
>   Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D.,
>   F.R.E.S.
>
>   Montana Entomology
>   Collection
>   Marsh Labs, Room 50
>   1911 West Lincoln Street
>   NW
>   corner of Lincoln and S.19th
>   Montana State
>   University
>   Bozeman, MT 59717
>   USA
>
>   (406)
>   994-4610 (voice)
>   (406) 994-6029 (FAX)
>   mivie at montana.edu
>
>
>   _______________________________________________
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>
>   Celebrating 28 years of
>   Taxacom in 2015.
>
>

-- 
__________________________________________________

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

Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
1911 West Lincoln Street
NW corner of Lincoln and S.19th
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717
USA

(406) 994-4610 (voice)
(406) 994-6029 (FAX)
mivie at montana.edu




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