[Taxacom] I'm furious over article: On typeless species and the perils of fast taxonomy

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Mon May 9 22:25:21 CDT 2016

Hi Geoff,
I am rather more concerned with the general issues than this specific case. The general issues go very far beyond just Diptera. What irks me the most, quite frankly, is that if I try to publish anything, it gets nitpicked to death by editors and reviewers, but some other people appear to be able to publish any old garbage unchallenged! I would have hoped that someone from 14 authors, at least two reviewers, or the editorial team for the journal might have picked up on the, as you put it, "misrepresentations of the Code" and "obvious factual errors"! Journals tend not to alter manuscripts after they have been published in the online first edition version of record, and to do so could pave the way to even bigger problems! One worry is that people who are not themselves fluent with the Code will tend to believe 14 authors over the 3 original authors of the new fly, and so confusion and division will result. IMHO, publishers of scientific journals ought to steer clear of opportunistic opinion pieces like the present case. It is not science and it has no place in a scientific journal. I don't know what the solution is to the problem of ineffectual/lame peer review, or to reviewers who think that some authors don't need to have their submissions scrutinised much, while other authors do, and base this on political rather than scientific considerations.

On Tue, 10/5/16, Geoff Read <gread at actrix.gen.nz> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] I'm furious over article: On typeless species and the perils of fast taxonomy
 To: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 Received: Tuesday, 10 May, 2016, 3:00 PM
 Hi Stephen,
 You could write privately to the lead author, if you haven't
 already (I'm
 resisting involving him here by cc).
 I don't see much wrong with the general sentiments expressed
 in the
 article. However the two sentences top of page 3
 misrepresent the code.
 Take them away and the authors are just expressing opinions
 on taxonomic
 practice. It may be possible to change an obvious factual
 error as the
 article is not yet in a print issue. Or the authors could
 withdraw the
 article and resubmit.
 From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 on behalf of John
 Grehan <calabar.john at gmail.com>
 Sent: 09 May 2016 14:39
 To: Stephen Thorpe
 Cc: samarsha at uoguelph.ca;
 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] I'm furious over article: On typeless
 species and
 the perils of fast taxonomy
 Why not write to the journal and volunteer your expertise?
 John Grehan
 On Sun, May 8, 2016 at 6:27 PM, Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 > Hi all,
 > I'm furious over this new article:
 > http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/syen.12180/abstract
 > They say: However, according to Article 16.4 of the
 ICZN (1999), only
 > holotypes of extant taxa should be housed in a public
 > collection. Marleyimyia xycolopae is obviously an
 extant species.
 > Accordingly, its type specimen should be deposited in a
 > collection ... In short, Marshall and Evenhuis
 published a nomen nudum
 > because their discovery is backed only by a photograph
 and not by a type
 > specimen.
 > Art. 16.4 actually says:
 > 16.4.2. where the holotype or syntypes are extant
 specimens, by a
 > statement of intent that they will be (or are)
 deposited in a collection
 > and a statement indicating the name and location of
 that collection.
 > Extant SPECIMENS, NOT extant SPECIES!!!
 > The argument offered against the availability of the
 name Marleyimyia
 > xycolopae is clearly based on a gross misinterpretation
 of the Code, and is
 > makes the whole article by Santos et al. utterly
 pointless! I am extremely
 > alarmed that nobody out of 14 authors, at least two
 reviewers and an
 > editorial team from a supposedly reputable journal
 could not catch this
 > fundamental error before it went to print. Peer review
 just doesn't work,
 > it would seem.
 > Stephen
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