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

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Jan 28 15:46:02 CST 2016

>I do recall a conversation that effectively concluded that, per Art. 21.9, whichever version first fulfilled the requirements of availability would establish the date of publication<

This is an important point. It explicitly contradicts: 

9.9. preliminary versions of works accessible electronically in advance of publication

Art. 9.9 means that any subsequent change in content of a work invalidates it. So, a work which seems to fulfill all requirements of availability at one time may lose that availabililty if the content subsequently changes! There is debate over whether or not addition of metadata counts as a change in content? John Noyes says yes, it does. Others say no, it doesn't. Is there a right or wrong answer?


On Fri, 29/1/16, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org> wrote:

 Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Important note Re: two names online published - one	new species
 To: "'Stephen Thorpe'" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>, "'Laurent Raty'" <l.raty at skynet.be>, taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 Cc: j.noyes at nhm.ac.uk
 Received: Friday, 29 January, 2016, 9:56 AM
 > 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
 > So, a protocol for
 electronic publication of new taxon names was, rather
 > hastily it seems, put together. 
 Well, if 4 years of public
 commentary can be described as "hasty".... sure. 
 I guess in geologic timescales, 4 years is effectively
 > 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
 > they are published online.
 "Sole purpose" is
 overstated.  Many people have been registering
 retrospective content as well.  I would say the #1 reason
 people have registered content in ZooBank is because they
 support the idea. I agree that compliance with e-publication
 is another primary reason why stuff is getting registered in
 ZooBank but certainly not the "sole purpose".
 There are also Journals that explicitly do NOT want the
 electronic edition to be the available version. Some ensure
 this by failing to include LSIDs in the work itself, and
 others may ensure this by failing to include an online
 archive for the Journal in ZooBank (of course, nothing stops
 individual authors from self-archiving, and indicating such
 on an article-level basis in ZooBank).
 > Problem: The Code states that preliminary
 versions published online cannot
 > be
 made available, but fails to define "preliminary
 To me, that is a much bigger problem than the business about
 online first vs. paper first, etc.
 > This is so despite
 the pleas of Commissioner Krell for clarification before the
 Amendment was
 > issued! Curious ...
 I'd have to go back and
 review the exchanges.  Certainly the issue of defining
 "preliminary version" was raised by multiple
 Commissioners, and by people in the public.  But I
 don't have a specific recollection of why there was no
 effort to add a definition of "preliminary
 version".  I do recall a conversation that effectively
 concluded that, per Art. 21.9, whichever version first
 fulfilled the requirements of availability would establish
 the date of publication.  But that still doesn't
 address what a "primiminary version" is.  Maybe
 people just hoped it would be self-evident from the
 publication itself what was preliminary, and what was not. I
 have kept all email related to the Amendment, so I could go
 review if I had time and inclination. However, I have
 neither at the moment.
 Several people (including John Noyes) object that
 unpaginated versions not
 > yet assigned
 to volume/issue are preliminary versions, but many
 > 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
 > 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
 Yup, that about sums
 it up (although, again "a lot" may be an
 overstatement).  And it's nice to see the conversation
 shifting towards this issue, which I think is the elephant
 in the room compared to the other stuff.
 > 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
 > status"?
 Yup, I'd agree with that
 > 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. 
 That statement is pretty
 demonstrably false!  The vast majority of works published
 electronically do NOT suffer these problems.  The protocol
 is certainly "workable" in the sense that it
 "works" in the vast majority of cases. We all
 agree it's not perfect -- nobody ever thought it would
 be perfect.  Frankly, as I have said many times before, I
 thought it would be much LESS perfect than it has proven to
 be.  I am quite surprised how few actual problems we
 have.  But as should be clear by my long email below, I do
 not see a stable future in conflating nomenclatural
 availability (and the desire for stability) with the rapidly
 evolving realm of "publication".  It's time
 to move on to a new model that separates nomenclatural
 availability and priority from the whole publication process
 (except the extent to which ZooBank itself, as a registry,
 can be considered a form of publication).

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