[Taxacom] Electronic publication

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Mon Jan 9 16:29:07 CST 2017

I changed the subject line of this thread to be more relevant to the discussion.

First, a minor correction to Frank's post:  The Code does not require that electronic works be deposited in an online archive.  It requires that the work be registered in ZooBank, that the ZooBank record indicates the ISSN/ISBN and *intended* archive, and that the work itself contain the date of publication and evidence of registration.  Any version of a work ("pre-published", or otherwise) that fails to include these last two items is not considered published in the sense of the Code, so names and acts established therein are not available.

Scott's summary very accurately represents the reality.  There was enormous pressure to accommodate electronic publication under the Code (and rightly so, as evident from hindsight), and there was a four-year period where the community was free to comment on how the new rules should be implemented.

As to Hinrich's point that the Commission should be proactive, this is PRECISELY what is happening (and, to a large extent, has been happening since at least 2005).  The Commission was always well-aware that the Amendment to accommodate electronic publication was a stop-gap measure; it was never intended as the permanent solution.  A permanent solution would have been very unwise back then as, as has been pointed out, the publication landscape is still very-much dynamic and evolving. Rather, the Amendment was to allow a test period to discover what the problems with both electronic publication and online registration are, and use that knowledge to refine a more long-term solution through the 5th Edition of the Code.

And this is EXACTLY what is happening now.

I've ranted many times on this list and elsewhere about my own views on the matter, so I won't repeat them in detail here. There is no doubt in my mind that "publication" as we use that word will cease to be the vehicle through which new names and nomenclatural acts are established.  The only questions are when this will happen, and precisely how it will be implemented.  

I think I disagree with some of the other sentiments expressed by Hinrich below, but his assertions are too vague and imprecise to address directly.


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

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf
> Of Hinrich Kaiser
> Sent: Sunday, January 8, 2017 9:31 AM
> To: Scott Thomson
> Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Taxacom Digest, Vol 129, Issue 4
> Hi Everyone,
> I appreciate Scott's comment, but this is exactly what I think could be done
> better. The Commission should not try to work along parameters developed
> by the publishing industry, but it should develop and adopt an ICZN standard.
> That standard would then be our benchmark as taxonomists, according to
> which we would choose the vehicles for publishing taxonomic decisions.
> Period.
> Then, as taxonomists adhere to a greater and lesser degree to that standard,
> it would be possible to perhaps expand the rules and accept additional
> options - but not BEFORE the rules have been made and implemented. As it
> is, the ICZN responds to a need (as Scott stated, something was being forced
> on the Commission), and then something else happens in the industry, and
> the Commission once again needs to respond. When will it stop? That is not
> a scientific approach - in science we figure out how things work and act
> within those parameters. The Commission should develop the set of best
> practices and enforce it. It should not be in a position to play catch-up with
> an ever-changing industry. Indeed, nobody CAN predict how the industry will
> develop, which is why WE need to tell the industry what is possible and what
> isn't.
> I also appreciate it that the commission may not like to take on an enforcer
> role, but it has that role in principle anyway. It just needs to be more
> emphatic in the way nomenclature is administered.
> Hinrich
>     On Sunday, January 8, 2017 2:17 PM, Scott Thomson
> <scott.thomson321 at gmail.com> wrote:
>  Hinrich and others,
> To be fair I think that opening up the option of online publication was
> effectively forced onto the ICZN and the rules they made were debated for
> some time and based on the models available at the time. The online
> publishing industry has since created entirely unpredictable models that the
> original discussions did not predict. I do not think anyone could have
> predicted the nature of what has become online publishing. It may, in hind
> sight, have been better to permit that industry to stabilize for another
> decade before permitting it to be a viable option for nomenclatural works.
> Maybe it would have been better to resist it altogether. However there was a
> lot of pressure to establish a set of rules of availability for online only
> publications. I find some of these journals outright devious in their attempts
> to validate their journals. Which do not meet the code.
> Cheers Scott
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