[Taxacom] "Taxon Filter" (was Re: Electronic publication)

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Wed Jan 11 13:38:28 CST 2017


Doug,

It is not clear to me whether or not you are saying that there will be only
one publication outlet for taxonomic papers or are you just saying that
there should be one venue for registration and review? If the latter, how
does the review process work with individual journals? And what power of
influence do all these 'reviewers' have on the ms that the author will be
compelled to make whether or not within their individual resources? Under
the present system it is often possible to pretty much exclude as potential
reviewers those individuals who might cause trouble than be of help.

John Grehan

On Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 1:55 PM, Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu> wrote:

> For the record, the "Taxon Filter" concept is one that Hinrich largely
> borrowed from a model I have been proposing for some time now, and he and I
> had extensive discussions prior to his adopting that name. There is a very
> important aspect of the process which does not seem to have been clearly
> explained, and I think it is highly relevant to several of the issues
> raised in this present thread. Allow me to give a hypothetical example to
> illustrate:
>
> Suppose author X wants to describe a new species of bumblebee (the genus
> Bombus, family Apidae, order Hymenoptera, class Insecta). They have three
> female specimens, from two localities in Mexico.
>
> Under the status quo, they submit a manuscript to journal Y and it is seen
> by three anonymous referees plus a subject editor before being accepted,
> with minor revision, and published. Under the status quo, it is ALSO
> possible that one of the referees (let's call them Z) might realize "Oh, I
> have some specimens of this new species myself!" and they could quickly
> publish their OWN description, and "scoop" author X, usurping their
> discovery. Author X is furious, but cannot prove that Z was one of the
> referees, because they are shielded by anonymity.
>
> Under the model that I and Hinrich have been advocating (at least my
> version of which is NOT a "minimal requirements" model), this would be
> quite different.
>
> Author X would submit their manuscript (in my model, the *whole* thing) to
> THE single official venue - most likely ZooBank - that acts as a
> registration portal for all new nomenclatural acts. The instant it is
> submitted there, an automated message goes out to every taxonomist who is a
> registered user of that venue AND who has self-selected any of the
> following key words: Bombus, Apidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Mexico, "new
> species" (among others). Instead of just 3 anonymous referees, the
> manuscript is thereby opened to review online by *hundreds* of people,
> including the majority of the world's experts on bumblebees. If a person
> like Z is among the reviewers, they CANNOT do anything to usurp the taxon
> as their own, because now there is ONLY ONE VENUE. They would have to
> submit their manuscript for registration to the *same* place, and have it
> seen by the *same* reviewers, as author X - and *including* author X! It
> would be immediately obvious that the two works referred to the same taxon,
> and since author X had submitted first, their registration could still be
> approved, but Z's would definitely be rejected. The BEST scenario that Z
> could hope for here is that X would agree to add them as a co-author. In
> fact, that could turn what might otherwise have been a bitter rivalry into
> a cooperative, win-win venture. Especially if author Z had specimens from
> different localities, or male specimens to help better characterize the new
> species. For that matter, ANY of the hundreds of reviewers might have
> additional specimens or data that they could contribute (with or without
> co-authorship), and the resulting species description could be *vastly*
> improved over the one produced under the traditional publishing model. Open
> review makes a level of collaboration possible that is NOT part of the
> present competitive publishing model. So, we'd see not only a BETTER end
> product, but one that is immune to being usurped, and - once registered -
> can be submitted for publication wherever the author wishes, and it won't
> make a difference how long it actually takes to get into print, because the
> date of registration (and availability) of the name is *already
> established* and NOT dependent on the date of printing.
>
> That last clause is EXTREMELY significant in regards to the present debate
> over dating, pre-prints, digital versus paper, and such: if the date a name
> becomes *available* is the date it is *registered*, then it makes no
> difference at all when the formal publication takes place, or where, or
> whether is is e-only, or hard copy only, or privately printed, or printed
> on demand, etc.
>
> I have been arguing for some 20 years now that adopting this approach
> would be to everyone's collective benefit, for many, many reasons. No
> longer having to worry about the date of publication (or digital versus
> paper), is just one of those many reasons.
>
> --
>
> P.S.: I can imagine several of you immediately leaping forward with
> questions like "But what if author X takes the manuscript after it is
> registered, and changes it before it is published?" "What if they never
> formally publish it?" - and while those are fair questions, superficially,
> I also think you'll see a few things: first, by virtue of the open review
> process, there is virtually no reason that there WOULD be any changes
> between registration and publication. After all, most (if not all!) of the
> potential referees for the print version will have *already* reviewed the
> work. No errors should slip through that would require fixing; e.g., if
> someone's proposed new names are synonyms, or homonyms, or there is some
> other error regarding Code-compliance (failure to state type depository,
> etc.), that would *all* *get worked out* before the work could be approved
> for registration. Second, if changes *are* made, there are several options
> that could render this a non-problem. Which option people prefer could be a
> separate topic for discussion, but off the top of my head, (1) declare that
> only the official registered version of the work has *nomenclatural*
> standing. I'm not talking about minor changes in the final published
> version, which would be irrelevant, but something like altering the
> composition of the type series, changing the spelling of a name, etc. Note
> that this would, in effect, make the archived registered work the
> functional equivalent of a digital publication. As such, even if it never
> got "published" anywhere else, the names and acts in it would still be
> available, *and* possible to cite. This is one of the main reasons that I
> advocate that the *entire works* be registered, rather than just a
> minimalist template. (2) If the author insists that a revised published
> version *needs* to replace the previously-registered version (e.g., they
> found a better specimen to be selected as holotype), then - thanks to the
> entire process being archived - everyone who was involved in the original
> registration approval could be sent a follow-up e-mail asking whether or
> not they approve of the revised version; if so, then the revised version
> replaces the original. This could only be done ONCE, in conjunction with
> the first post-registration publication. (3) Some publishers might be
> convinced to accept the registered version *as is* and just print it
> without any further review or editorial process.
>
> This all could work, and work well.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> --
> Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
> Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
> phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
>              http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
>   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
>         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
>
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