[Taxacom] Article 8 compliance

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Fri Apr 7 15:46:33 CDT 2017

Hi Adam,

Thanks for taking the time to participate in this discussion!  I am finding it very thought-provoking and helpful!

> I really do think that John has some very valid points, particularly on pdfs and his
> reservations about a number of aspects of the proposed ZooBank model.

And I likewise agree (as indicated in my reply to John just now)/

> In my opinion it would be much easier for the user, more economical  and have
> other significant advantages if ZooBank changed its modus operandi from
> "registration" to "mandatory archive".
> What I am proposing is that in order to confer availability on nomenclatorial acts
> all that is necessary is to upload a pdf of the paper to ZooBank. The date and
> time of receipt of the pdf becomes the publication date/time and there will thus
> be no future issue of argument over publication priority for e-only publications.

I think this system could work as well.  For many reasons I don't believe it would be as good as the system I am advocating, but I do agree that such a system would be better than what we currently have, and may be easier to "sell" to the community.

> If an author wants to replace a previous version of the publication with a
> subsequent version the old pdf is deleted from the archive and the new version
> uploaded in its place, and the publication date for priority purposes becomes the
> date on which the new version is uploaded. That would solve the current
> problems with versions of record and their publication dates.

This seems a bit problematic.  Would there be a time limit on when an author could replace an earlier version?  What happens when other works start citing the old version, then years later a new version is uploaded.  Would all the other works citing the old version be using unavailable names?  What if a new name is established in the interim that is considered a junior synonym?  Would it then take on nomenclatural priority if the author of the earlier name later replaced the PDF?  I think that once a PDF is submitted and archived in ZooBank (in your system), it would need to be permanent.  Otherwise, I see all sorts of opportunities for tremendous nomenclatural instability to ensure.

> Instead of ZooBank investing huge sums in building complex software needed
> for the registration process and further sums for upgrades and maintenance, I
> believe that it will be much more cost effective with much simpler software if
> ZooBank becomes the ONLY MANDATORY ARCHIVE for all nomenclatorial acts.
> The publication model would thus become "PDF archived at ZooBank =
> published".

Perhaps, but I'm pretty sure you're wrong on the costs estimates.  Initial setup costs for establishing an archive (instead of enriching ZooBank) MIGHT be less than US$1.5M (but I doubt it).  And certainly maintenance costs would be MUCH higher for an archive than it would be for a registration system.  The archive you describe would require many PETABYTES of storage space (instead of a few 100 GB), and as you noted, perhaps the largest cost for maintaining electronic information systems of this sort is repairing replacing hard drives, pushing content onto media, and maintaining a regular off-site backup system.  Establishing ZooBank as a single-point archive for ALL publications of Code-governed names and acts would be vastly more expensive in the long run than developing and maintaining the robust registration system that I have been advocating.  In fact, BHL tried to do exactly this (create a "safe harbor" for PDF deposition) a few years ago, and they eventually decided it would be too expensive (mostly relating to copyright issues).  And their budget is way more than what has been needed (and what would be needed) for ZooBank.

> There are a number of distinct advantages for users of this proposal that
> ZooBank changes from a registration facility to an archive. All an author needs
> to do is upload a pdf to ZooBank, no need to fill out fields in a database for
> registration of each act (even 2 extra days at the end of a long research project
> is an inconvenience, never mind subsequent problems caused if the author
> enters information incorrectly when staring at a computer screen for 2 days).

See my reply to John on the "2 extra days" thing.  There's no reason that couldn't be MUCH lower overhead time cost.

> Subsequent users who want to access the nomenclatorial acts can access the pdf
> files directly from the ZooBank portal, and read the necessary details of the
> published acts. If there are copyright issues with the pdf publications ZooBank
> could provide a "snippet view" of the paper, such that only the actual
> nomenclatorial acts are visible to the reader (similar to Google Books) rather
> than the whole pdf.

OK, now you're talking about a system that would be VASTLY more expensive than US$1.5M to develop -- even ignoring the massive costs associated with the legal side of copyright. Just look at all the copyright legal battles that Google has had to deal with for Google Books.  They have a LOT more money than ICZN does (probably more than all of taxonomy worldwide); and even they considered it a major problem.

> Surely this has to be a much more user-friendly, economically viable and simpler
> system than the current model?

User-friendly?  That's debatable.  Economically viable?  I will have to say "not even close", given what you've described above.  As for "simpler", I refer back to my original reply to John on this thread: by what metric are we defining "simple" vs. "complicated"?

> Did I really see a Hymenopterist agreeing with the Lepidopterists that
> gender agreement should be scrapped from the ICZN Code???

You can add an Ichthyologist to that list as well... :-)  [Sorry, Miguel....]


Richard L. Pyle, PhD
Database Coordinator for Natural Sciences | Associate Zoologist in Ichthyology | Dive Safety Officer
Department of Natural Sciences, Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252 email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org

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