[Taxacom] Electronic publication

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Mon Jan 9 17:58:21 CST 2017

Stephen Thorpe said:
> There is some doubt in my mind. The issue is complicated, but this would, on
> the face of it, require taking the work of taxonomists out of the system of
> publication metrics which dominates professional science. 

No it wouldn't.  Taxonomists would continue to publish their science exactly as they always have, including detailed new species descriptions, etc.  The only difference -- which many (most?) people probably wouldn't even notice -- is that the technical compliance with the ICZN Code would not occur within the publication (as it has for centuries), nor in a combination of the publication and registration systems (as it does now for electronically published works), but would occur entirely within the registration system (a much more robust version of the existing ZooBank).  

The key point here is to separate the legalistic aspects of conferring availability on new names and associated acts from the science that taxonomists do (and will of course continue to do).  There would be no "glory" in registering names any more than there is glory in registering GenBank sequences.  The glory (and reputation) of the researchers would continue to come from their scientific work, which would continue as it has been in the current scientific publication paradigm. None of that would change.  What WOULD change is the increasingly messy ambiguity that currently exists concerning whether or not a modern publication complies with Code requirements and (perhaps more messy) *when* it complied.


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