[Taxacom] Nomenclatural availability of preliminary electronic versions of taxonomic papers

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Fri Oct 16 17:58:03 CDT 2015

Hi Michael,

> The discussion needs to return to first principles, i.e. if we were to design a
> system of attributing stable informative names to biological entities from
> scratch, how would we do it? 

I COMPLETELY agree!  In my opinion, this is EXACTLY the right question to ask!

> Certainly not the way we do it now. 


> The future will be far more foreign
> than the present already is. 

Again, 100% agreement.

> Many, including myself, do not particularly like
> change, and feel the existing system has worked well for 250 years so why
> not keep it.  But the reality is, things are changing for reasons entirely
> beyond our control, and we must find a way to make it work.  Tweaking the
> existing Code and system of publication/priority and typification is not going
> to work, it will increase instead of decreasing complexity.

Again, I agree -- which is why I am a strong advocate for a new approach to the 5th Edition of the Code.  Instead of one more layer of patches and band-aids (as previous editions generally were), I think the next edition needs to be issued in two parts. Part 1 would apply to all names established after 20XX (start date for the 5th Edition). It would be completely re-crafted from scratch, based on the question you posed quoted at the top of this email. I imagine it would only need to be about 1-2 pages in length (using the print-based metric of documentation sizing) -- especially if we can de-couple nomenclatural availability from publication.  Part 2 would be the rules dealing with all names established in 20XX and earlier, and would essentially be a cleaned-up version of the 4th Edition.


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