[Taxacom] New article in Zootaxa adding to reptile name instability (Scott Thomson up to his old tricks!)

Francisco Welter-Schultes fwelter at gwdg.de
Tue Jan 5 06:31:47 CST 2016

Minimum number of printed copies required for a paper based publication 
was an issue that had been discussed in the course of the discussion on 
the Code Amendment on electronic publication. The numbers of 50 and 100 
had been brought up during this debate. Since 2012 Recommendation 8B 
states that the minimum  number should be 25.
In the PDF file that you cited, Stephen, they state that 50 copies were 
printed and were already known to have been rare by 2009, when the PDF 
file was released (at least this is what I understand from that note on 
p. 30). This suggests that 25 is a quite low number. But, well. There 
were reasons to stick with 25.
The legal text of the Code does not give a definition on the number of 
required copies. However 50 surpasses the number of 25 given in 
Recommendation 8B. From this point I see no conflicts with the Code.

However it is not clear to me from the content of that note on p. 30 if 
these copies were obtainable free of charge or by purchase (Art. 8.1.2). 
Thomson & Georges seem to claim that they were not obtainable by the 
public, but that they were only privately distributed and had a limited 
audience. I regard this as a serious point because it is clear from the 
Code's content that the term used in Art. 8.1.2 being "obtainable" means 
"for the public". Also Art. 9.9 goes strongly in this direction.
My personal preference would be a ruling by the Commission to give a 
definite statement on this problem. A clear ruling (for example by 
setting the disputed issues of that journal on the Official Index) would 
be better than an endless debate. It might be an option to open a Case 
and to allow a public discussion about this problem, and at the end to 
have a final solution.

You point that a new name, if first published in a disputable paper in 
terms of eventually not constituting published work, that is introduced 
in a subsequent paper without these problems, should use the same new 
name for a new taxon that was used in the disputable paper. I think this 
is a valid point. Could be added to the Code of Ethics, near Art. 2.


Am 05.01.2016 um 02:08 schrieb Stephen Thorpe:
> Oh dear, the first issue of Zootaxa for 2016 has not gotten off to the best of starts! Thomson & Georges (http://www.mapress.com/j/zt/article/view/zootaxa.4061.1.2) have named as new a species of turtle which was already described by Richard Wells in 2002 (http://zoobank.org/NomenclaturalActs/5032E8B8-380E-4C7F-A0DF-C3A99126BA44). Worse, they have used a different name, thereby deliberately adding to nomenclatural instability! In a footnote (p. 19), they dismiss Wells' name thus: [quote]Documents privately printed and circulated under the banner Australian Biodiversity Record are not recognised as scientific publications or as publications for the purposes of nomenclature. The name jukesi used in such a document is not regarded here as an available name. See also Fritz, U. and Havaš, P. 2007. Checklist of chelonians of the world. Vertebrate Zoology 57(2):149–368, page 162.[unquote]
> This is self-evidently not true! The Code makes no such ban against "documents privately printed and circulated", and saying it don't make it so!
> It refects very badly on a publisher, particularly one whose chief editor is also an ICZN commissioner, to publish material like this whereby a taxonomist merely castes aside a previous name for a taxon, citing a nonexistent Code provision! As far as I know, there is nothing to suggest that an initial print run of Wells (2002) was not made available in accordance with the Code, as is clearly stated here: http://www.calodema.com/freefiles/wells/AUSTRALIANBIODIVERSITYRECORD2002%282%29.pdf
> The Fritz and Havas reference states: [quote]the worst case represent online-publications in a journal fake named Australian Biodiversity Record (Wells 2002a, b, 2007a, b, c). These online-publications do not consitute published works according to Articles 8.6 and 9.7 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN 1999), which is why none of the names or nomenclatural acts published therein exists under the rules of the Code[unquote]
> Interestingly, both Arts. 8.6 and 9.7 have been amended on the current Code Online, making it less clear if they still apply to this case, and even if they do, Fritz and Havas's unsupported claims contradict the information provided by the publisher (http://www.calodema.com/freefiles/wells/AUSTRALIANBIODIVERSITYRECORD2002%282%29.pdf).
> At the very least, Thomson & Georges should have given the darn taxon the same darn name as it already had, thus not adding to instability, and taxonomists could then just argue ad nauseam over who has authorship of that name. But instead we have selfish people battling each other with little or no regard for the affect it has on others who might simply want a stable name for a species.
> Stephen
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