[Taxacom] Electronic publication

Hinrich Kaiser chalcopis at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 9 23:40:53 CST 2017


Yes, Scott, both you and Stephen are correct. I am taking this a bit far, and I one would need to recruit reliable, taxonomically and nomenclaturally educated personnel. In herpetology, I think that there are perhaps a dozen people who have shown themselves to be knowledgable and ego-free to the extent possible, and who are respected by the community. I would assume that a cadre of people like that exists in other disciplines.
Separating taxonomy from nomenclature is a highly principled move, but it is unrealistic. Taxonomy and nomenclature are inextricably linked, given that taxonomy is the only place where nomenclature gains its input an its relevance. In contrast, the lofty goal of nomenclatural stability can only be reliably obtained if the integrity of the scientific input is preserved. If there is something wrong with the taxonomy (whether it is about ethics, errors, or ethos), then the decision must be void until such a time that the problems are rectified.
There are likely historical reasons for why the Code does not impinge on science, and I suspect that fear of censorship was a key reason at a time where memories of censorship must have been all too vivid. The scientific community was then relatively closed to the broader populace, strongly hierarchical, male-dominated, and by and large respectful of one another. It was a stricter time, and slower-paced. Science has had a renaissance since then, it has become more transparent, more accessible, broader of appeal, and much faster-paced - with more people competing for fewer dollars in funding. While taxonomic freedom is great, there is already less freedom when it comes to producing taxonomic decisions because those have to be Code-compliant. All I would like to see is some way to ascertain that the science that produces these taxonomic decisions is actually sound. Unless I am mistaken, the turtle community is doing this kind of thing already, in that it reviews taxonomic changes annually. In herpetology, you and I (and, of course, some others) have raised the awareness of such issues. Some standardized quality control is required if the relationship between taxonomy and nomenclature is going to safeguard nomenclatural stability - and to ensure that the public where our funding comes from realizes that published taxonomic decisions are reliable.
 

    On Tuesday, January 10, 2017 12:16 AM, Scott Thomson <scott.thomson321 at gmail.com> wrote:
 

 One difficulty though Hinrich is that the code explicitly separates the science of taxonomy from nomenclature. So if I read you correctly what you are asking is that the science is to be considered by the Code, through the Commission, something it has deliberately avoided. Taxonomic freedom has been seen as being important, yes people have abused that. Maybe some way of dealing with it should be developed. The code is meant to be looking at availability of names largely based on publication and priority. The other problem with panels is who would be on them. Anyone? Restricted to people who are taxonomists? I am being serious. In our field Hinrich, herpetology, I read peoples papers, recent papers, where they cannot even write the "important nomenclatural parts" of a paper so that their nomenclatural acts are even valid. These are usually phylogeneticists, phylogeographers etc. Should these people be judging nomenclatural acts when they cannot write one? I am with Stephen on this, I am not sure random groups of "interested" people can do that job appropriately.

   


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