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

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Thu Jan 12 13:21:05 CST 2017

My impression (albeit as one who is not an expert on nomenclature) is that
this proposition is just a huge bother for a fairly simple problem. If the
basic question is whether authors have sufficient evidence to support a
nomenclatural proposition then it would seem to me that all that was needed
for a filter vetting system is the submission of a name and the minimum
evidence meeting the code requirements - existence of a type specimen and a
designated repository, distinctive characteristics etc. To me it does not
seem necessary to impose a new manuscript bureaucracy. Also, I can imagine
the sparks that could fly with the involvement of certain personalities (as
evidenced by some TAXACOM contributions in herpetology) and for me, I would
rather have some control over the review process as there are individuals I
would rather avoid impacting (negatively in my opinion) my work. As for 30
days, maybe when you are young that is fine, but if I can get half that now
I would not want to unnecessarily waste additional time. No need to
prescribe a headache to cure a cold :)

There has been some analogy drawn to genbank, but I am not aware that this
vets the validity or existence of the proposed sequences - just registers
them (Am I correct?).

John Grehan

On Thu, Jan 12, 2017 at 1:49 PM, Hinrich Kaiser <chalcopis at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I think it really would be very helpful to test out a "Taxon Filter"
> system, and perhaps herpetology, where some of the most egregious and most
> recent problems with "unfiltered taxa" have occurred, could be a suitable
> testing ground. Perhaps the Commission could create an ad hoc Committee for
> testing the Taxon Filter concept in herpetology, perhaps with the active
> participation of the World Congress of Herpetology.
> When I outlined Doug's idea, I intended it to allow "working backwards" to
> some degree as well as working forwards, thus allowing revisions of
> problematic taxonomic issues at their root, and with binding effect on the
> nomenclature, to allow older problems to pile up to the detriment of newer
> projects.
> Of course, the minutiae of the process can be set up when there is a
> formal agreement to do this, but the way I see this now, the
> single-location registration process is a precursor to publication. I am
> sure Doug and I have both tweaked things a little in our minds, but here is
> how I see this in reality.
> 1. A Taxon Filter registration structure is set up under the auspices of
> the ICZN. This system includes a SINGLE portal for submission of manuscript
> that include taxonomic decisions.
> 2. An author submits a complete manuscript (including text, tables,
> figures, literature, and any supplemental files - in other words, the whole
> enchilada) into the system and indicates relevant key words in preset
> categories, such as country, taxon, type of taxonomic decision etc. (many
> of which could be streamlined via drop-down menus).
> 3. Upon acceptance of the manuscript into the system (NOTE: "Acceptance"
> here does NOT mean acceptance of the taxonomic decision(s), only of the
> files), users who have declared themselves interested in matching key words
> are immediately notified via email, and all submissions are also posted on
> the portal's site, sorted by taxon and date and time (thus allowing direct
> browsing).
> 4. Submission starts the clock for the review period of however many days
> we decide (maybe 30 days is sufficient). Those potentially interested have
> been asked to comment, and one could leave it at that. If I were an author,
> I would also send out my own message to those individuals I consider
> knowledgable on a particular taxon to ensure that the proposed taxonomic
> decisions receive a good vetting.
> 5. Once a minimum number of reviewers provides their positive opinions on
> the submission, or if the review period ends with fewer than the minimum
> number of reviews, then the name becomes registered and receives whatever
> seal of approval the portal provides. Perhaps this is a taxon code of some
> sort as proof that the decision(s) was(were) vetted. If a submission does
> not receive such support, then the authors can resubmit an improved
> version, or they can withdraw their paper - no harm done. The process is
> archived, so a "resubmission" of an identical manuscript can be recognized.
> 6. The manuscript can NOW be submitted to a journal, whose editorial team
> has agreed to fast-track manuscripts that have received approval via the
> Taxon Filter system.
> 7. The paper is eventually published, and instead of having the taxon name
> listed with a set of authors, it could be listed with the Taxon Filter code.
> I imagine that this process would not only allow for better taxonomy and
> for nomenclature that is more stable from the get-go, it would also further
> the willingness of people to work together (well, it would force it to some
> extent), it would make the process more transparent, and it would allow
> granting agencies and institutions an added insight into how an applicant
> or researcher interacts with members of their respective taxonomic
> community. Some will balk at that, but they'll get used to it - because
> we'll all benefit.
> Regards,Hinrich
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