[Taxacom] Important note Re: two names online published -one new species

Adam Cotton adamcot at cscoms.com
Thu Jan 28 14:51:05 CST 2016

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
To: "'Laurent Raty'" <l.raty at skynet.be>; <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>; 
<deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
Cc: <j.noyes at nhm.ac.uk>
Sent: Friday, January 29, 2016 3:24 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Important note Re: two names online published -one 
new species

> Let us briefly recap the important points:
> The Amendment was issued in order to appease an unstoppable worldwide 
> shift to electronic publishing. The ICZN is worried that it may not 
> survive if it doesn't change with the times and appease the majority of 
> the taxonomic community.
> So, a protocol for electronic publication of new taxon names was, rather 
> hastily it seems, put together. Lots of authors and publishers have 
> subsequently been diligently preregistering articles on ZooBank, etc., for 
> the sole purpose of making the online first versions available from the 
> date that they are published online.
> Problem: The Code states that preliminary versions published online cannot 
> be made available, but fails to define "preliminary version"! This is so 
> despite the pleas of Commissioner Krell for clarification before the 
> Amendment was issued! Curious ...
> Several people (including John Noyes) object that unpaginated versions not 
> yet assigned to volume/issue are preliminary versions, but many (most?) 
> other people deny that these count as "preliminary versions". This 
> uncertainty creates uncertainty as to the exact date that many works and 
> new names became available (in the sense of the Code), which causes 
> problems for citation and also determination of priority, and means that a 
> lot of work spent on ZooBank preregistrations may in fact have been a 
> waste of time!
> The "metadata" solution represents an attempt, after the fact, to define 
> "preliminary version" is such a way as to avoid the above problem. It does 
> avoid the above problem, but to what extent is it actually written into 
> the Code? Is it a plausible interpretation of the Code as written, or is 
> it just something concocted to try to solve the problem post hoc, with no 
> "official status"?
> The upshot of all this is that despite the attempts of the ICZN to appease 
> the wider taxonomic community, they have failed to create a workable 
> protocol for online first publication. It only works for one very specific 
> publishing model, and we all by now know which one!
> Stephen

Thank you for summarising the issues so far encountered with e-publishing of 
nomenclatorial acts. It is worth bearing in mind that this Amendment is the 
first version of the rules allowing e-publication, whereas the ICZN Code has 
been altered and improved over the past 50+ years in 4 editions. We are at 
the stage for e-publishing regulations that zoologists were for the Code as 
a whole after 1961, and it is worth noting that the 2nd edition was 
published in 1964, only 3 years later.

While the Amendment writers had a lot more knowledge and experience of the 
Code than the writers of the 1st edition did in 1960, we should all expect 
that there should be 'teething troubles' with such a major amendment, and 
hopefully discussions such as this can help produce improved version(s) in 


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