[Taxacom] Problem with authors of taxa

Francisco Welter-Schultes fwelter at gwdg.de
Sun Aug 13 17:03:06 CDT 2017

The origin of the mess is (1) in the Code, and (2) in traditional 
authorship citing which tends to perpetuate incorrect authorship 
citations and formats.
The Code as such is relatively unambiguous, however the wording is so 
complicate that only very specialized experts understand the rules 
properly. The cited paper by Crandall & De Grave 2017 is an example of 
people who did read the Code (they cited the correct Article), but not 
understand it.

Authorship citation must follow the Code in its current version. It is 
not admissible to regard a publication from 1994 as binding or 
authorative for this purpose.
All previous authorship attributions must be revised if they were 
incorrect under the current edition of the Code. Traditionally given 
authorships can neither be protected nor conserved, except explicitly by 
the Commmission.
There are only very few "traditional" deviations from the Code, which I 
would recommend keeping by. Authorships of early Swedish dissertations 
fall into this category.

As highlighted by Laurent and Pekka, the cited paper from 2017 was 
inaccurate in just referring to Art. 50 without looking at the entire 
Article more closely.
It is crucial to distinguish cases with "internal" authors (authors of 
names belonging to the set of authors of the work (A & B in A, B & C)) 
that fall under Art. 50.1, and those with "external" authors (A & D in 
A, B & C) that fall under Art. 50.1.1.

Internal authors (Art. 50.1): the authorship attribution in the original 
source is sufficient.
P. fluviatilis Ribeiro & Buckup, 2016 is correctly cited in this form, 
name established in Ribeiro, Buckup, Gomes & Araujo (2016). The 
statement given by Crandall & De Grave 2017 was not in line with the Code.
External authors (Art. 50.1.1): it is important to attribute both the 
name and (usually) the description to the authors who are not (or not 
all) the authors of the work. Description and name attribution must be 
(Extreme example: Work authored by A, new name attributed to B & C, 
description attributed only to B - authorship of the name under Art. 
50.1.1 must be A).

Other statements from the mentioned paper Crandall & De Grave 2017:
"Various other conventions on spelling of authors and the argument that 
authors are “nomina” instead of “persona” (see Dubois, 2008) are as 
followed in Ng et al. (2008) and De Grave & Fransen (2011)."

This proposal is not based on provisions written down in the Code, and I 
would not recommend following it. Instead I would recommend following 
the conventions that most authors of most animal groups have applied in 
the past century.
It is usual practice to take the surname of the person as given in the 
original source for authorship citation. It is also usual practice to 
use the "surname" in the same format as librarians do it.

"We use, for example, Austropotamobius torrentium torrentium (von Paula 
Schrank, 1803), rather than only “(Schrank, 1803)” as used in previous 
compilations (e.g., Hobbs, 1974a)."

This proposal ignores widely accepted conventions of authorship 
citations. Correct surname citation is a quite complicate science.
It is important to take into consideration that factors like provenance 
and/or nationality of the person have some effect. In complicate cases 
it is always necessary to know the background of the name of the person.
In this case the name of the author was "Franz von Paula Schrank", a 
German name that is sorted alphabetically as "Schrank, Franz von Paula". 
For the taxonomic name authorship citation the citation as "Schrank, 
1803" is usual.
I would not recommend to deviate from such conventions, particularly not 
if such deviations were proposed by people who did not know these 

For those who are interested I have a file with rules for alphabetic 
cataloging in scientific libraries, published in 2006 by the German 
National Library, in German. Correct surname sortings of Franz von Paula 
Schrank and many other complicate names are explained there.

The "von" in names of German citizens is never cited in the surname 
citation. So citing the authorship as "von Paula Schrank" was doubly 


Francisco Welter-Schultes
- University of Goettingen, Germany -

Am 13.08.2017 um 09:17 schrieb Stefano Taiti:
> Dear all,
> I would like to point out a problem with the authors of new taxa when 
> these are only part of  the authors of the paper in which the new taxa 
> are described.
> In a paper by Crandall  & De Grave on "An updated classification of the 
> freshwater crayfishes (Decapoda: Astacidea) of the world, with a 
> complete species list" published this week in the Journal of Crustacean 
> Biology (on line) (see 
> <https://academic.oup.com/jcb/article/doi/10.1093/jcbiol/rux070/4060680/An-updated-classification-of-the-freshwater>https://academic.oup.com/jcb/article/doi/10.1093/jcbiol/rux070/4060680/An-updated-classification-of-the-freshwater 
> ) at p. 7 they write:
> "Ng (1994) laid down the foundation of author citation in decapod 
> literature,
> which since has been followed in all major compilations of decapod
> higher level taxonomy (De Grave et al., 2009), brachyuran crabs (Ng et al.,
> 2008), anomurans (Baba et al., 2008; McLaughlin et al., 2010a; 2010b), 
> lobsters
> (Chan, 2010), and shrimps (De Grave & Fransen, 2011). This follows
> a strict interpretation of Article 50 (ICZN, 1999) in that merely citing an
> author's name after a new species name does not make it explicit enough
> that the description is solely by that/those person(s). Rather, it 
> requires either
> a specific statement to that effect, or as is common in older 
> literature, a clear
> line of evidence that parts of the article were written by, and can thus be
> formally attributed to a person(s) other than the author(s) of the article.
> For example, we attribute Cambarus setosus to Faxon & Garman in Garman,
> 1889, rather than just Faxon alone, as listed in Hobbs (1974b). This 
> problem
> is not restricted to older literature as often thought, with for example,
> Ribeiro, Buckup, Gomes & Araujo (2016) describing "Parastacus fluviatilis
> Ribeiro & Buckup sp. nov." and "Parastacus caeruleodactylus Ribeiro & 
> Araujo
> sp. nov." By following Ng (1994), the citation of these names becomes far
> less cumbersome, for example P. fluviatilis Ribeiro, Buckup, Gomes & Araujo
> (2016) rather than P. fluviatilis Ribeiro & Buckup in Ribeiro, Buckup, 
> Gomes
> & Araujo (2016). We accept that this is not how Article 50 is uniformly 
> interpreted
> across the zoological community and others may disagree. Because
> all other compilations in the taxonomy of decapods have followed this 
> format,
> it seems logical to employ the same rule to bring the crayfish taxonomic
> literature in line with the prevailing viewpoint in decapod nomenclature."
> The interpretation of the Art. 50 of the ICZN by these authors seems to 
> be peculiar since in the cited papers it is quite explicit (it is 
> written!) that the authors of the new species are only some and not all 
> the authors of the paper (see also Recommendation 50A).
> Since nowadays it is quite common to see examples like those reported 
> above, I am wondering which is the right way to cite the authors of 
> these species. If anyone can interpret Art. 50 as they prefer, it will 
> be a real mess.
> Any opinion on this case will be appreciated.
> Thanks,
> Stefano Taiti
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