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

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Fri Jan 13 11:49:17 CST 2017


As one who has no formal status of authority (so my opinion has no
gravitas), I am in full agreement with John Noyes rejection of the proposed
system.

As one cautionary note, I could see some reviewers from a large pool
objecting to a new name because the new material is not adequately compared
to the type of established species names because the type descriptions are
inadequate, but the holding institutions will not loan out the type
material to resolve the matter.

John Grehan

On Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 12:38 PM, John Noyes <j.noyes at nhm.ac.uk> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> In that case it cannot possibly work. The whole system would be far too
> subjective and will be putting far too much pressure on reviewers. It will
> also be open to abuse. I review a lot of papers and  could not possibly
> comment on the validity of any species/genera being described as new except
> in very few cases. I simply do not have that sort of time available. I am
> sure that would be the same for most reviewers. Also, you would have to
> define what you mean by a terrible type specimen. In all likelihood you
> could not possibly know if better material can easily be obtained or
> whether other possible type material was available. No let's nip this one
> in the bud before it gets any sort of credence. What you are advocating
> could lead to terrible instability because there is a danger that most
> taxonomists would just ignore it because it is unworkable.
>
> There are many. Many other reasons that I can see as to why it should be a
> non-starter.
>
> Let's try to get simple available/not available sorted out before we start
> going along that road.
>
> John
>
> John Noyes
> Scientific Associate
> Department of Life Sciences
> Natural History Museum
> Cromwell Road
> South Kensington
> London SW7 5BD
> UK
> jsn at nhm.ac.uk
> Tel.: +44 (0) 207 942 5594
> Fax.: +44 (0) 207 942 5229
>
> Universal Chalcidoidea Database (everything you wanted to know about
> chalcidoids and more):
> www.nhm.ac.uk/chalcidoids
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of
> Doug Yanega
> Sent: 13 January 2017 17:21
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] "Taxon Filter" (was Re: Electronic publication)
>
> On 1/13/17 2:13 AM, John Noyes wrote:
> > Hi Adam,
> >
> > I totally agree. The danger in what Rich, Doug and others is advocating
> is that papers will be rejected by those that have an alternative view. Is
> the proposed system to deal with nomenclatural acts alone or is it intended
> to comment on the quality of  taxonomy? There  is a danger that it may put
> all the power in the hands of a few which would inevitably lead to a total
> breakdown of the system.
> WHOA. You have this exactly backwards. When there are dozens to hundreds
> of reviews, all made public, then it is no longer possible for a few people
> to control *anything*. Any cliques, any personal grievances, will be fully
> visible to the entire community. Think about it for just a second, and
> consider that the status quo DOES focus editorial control into the hands of
> a tiny number of people - who are absolutely protected from accountability
> through anonymity. That's precisely why we desperately need to move away
> from the present system of "peer review" - it is FAR too subject to
> manipulation without accountability. If the "alternative view" you're
> worried about is an ignorant minority view, or a crackpot, the flaws in
> their viewpoint will be exposed and get the rapid rejection and
> condemnation it deserves. I have confidence that we, as a community, can
> recognize unjustified opinions when we see them, and come to a rational
> consensus, rather than letting one or two people sway a decision unfairly
> for or against a submitted work.
>
> And yes, even though the purpose of the proposed system is to eliminate
> uncertainty regarding the availability of names, it does need to at least
> make a sincere attempt to assess the validity of names, as well.
> There is NO REASON to accept the registration of a proposed name that is a
> homonym; there is NO REASON to accept a name that is an obvious synonym;
> there is NO REASON to accept a name that is being proposed against the
> wishes of the person who discovered the taxon being named; there is NO
> REASON to accept a name based on a tiny fraction of the available material,
> or a terrible type specimen, when additional and/or better material can
> easily be obtained. Those specific problems are virtually unmanageable
> under the present, inferior protocol that we call peer review (every single
> one of these issues keeps coming up in present-day publications, even in
> prominent journals, and that's unacceptable), and it is time we adopted a
> higher standard, to everyone's collective benefit. Taxonomy is often viewed
> as a laughing stock by other disciplines because we have no mandated
> standards for quality control. So, let's do something about mandating
> quality control
> - and it should start, logically, with not accepting names for things that
> cannot be shown to be valid taxa, and putting the review process in the
> hands of the community rather than two or three anonymous reviewers.
>
> 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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