[Taxacom] Electronic publication

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Tue Jan 10 14:48:06 CST 2017

Hinrich said: "and to ensure that the public where our funding comes from realizes that published taxonomic decisions are reliable"

Acytually, that may not be a big factor. Judging from the reality as I see it around here, public funding is awarded to scientists by funding agencies who don't actually care much what it gets used for as long as it keeps the scientific economy healthy (scientists employed, institutions making profits, etc.) Hence a lot of funding gets burned on nonsense projects, etc.


On Tue, 10/1/17, Hinrich Kaiser <chalcopis at yahoo.com> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Electronic publication
 To: "Scott Thomson" <scott.thomson321 at gmail.com>
 Cc: "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>, "deepreef at bishopmuseum.org" <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>, "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Tuesday, 10 January, 2017, 6:40 PM
 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.
 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.
 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>
 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

More information about the Taxacom mailing list