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

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Jan 13 14:44:05 CST 2017

>Anonymity is the only thing that permits abuse. Eliminate people's ability to hide from scrutiny, and attempts at abuse will be nullified.<

Absolute nonsense! Abuse arises mostly from groups ("mobs") of people sticking together, under some pretense of authority, using rhetoric (totally divorced from reason) to push agendas. Anonymity has little or nothing to do with it. Typically in such cases, everyone else will duck for cover and not challenge the collective power of a mob.


On Sat, 14/1/17, Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] "Taxon Filter" (was Re: Electronic publication)
 To: "John Noyes" <j.noyes at nhm.ac.uk>, "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Saturday, 14 January, 2017, 7:44 AM
 On 1/13/17 9:38 AM, John
 Noyes 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.
 Anonymity is the only thing
 that permits abuse. Eliminate people's 
 ability to hide from scrutiny, and attempts at
 abuse will be nullified.
 > 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.
 Then those
 "very few cases" are exactly where your opinion is
 *necessary*, and needs to be ensured. How
 many new papers appear every 
 year on
 encyrtids? Unless you're not seeing them all already,
 then this 
 system would not increase the
 number of papers you have to review - and 
 if you're NOT seeing all the encyrtid
 papers, then the taxonomic 
 community is
 presently *losing the benefits* of your precise expertise,
 and that's unacceptable. I cannot
 imagine why you are defending the 
 quo if it means that experts are not getting to review all
 works that they are qualified to
 > I simply do not have that sort
 of time available. I am sure that would be the same for most
 I think that you
 seriously overestimate this problem, for at least the 
 following reasons: (1) I am not talking about
 any absolute increase in 
 the number of
 works being submitted for review worldwide, so - as above
 - if you are already seeing the majority of
 works for the taxa you are 
 an expert on,
 your workload won't increase by much, since you get to
 choose which works to review and which ones
 to ignore. You get to do 
 what you are
 comfortable doing; no more, no less. (2) The workload under
 this system is BEING SHARED with a greater
 number of people, so the 
 amount of
 necessary work per reviewer is going to shrink; right now,
 you get a paper to review, YOU
 personally have to fix every typo, YOU 
 to fix every grammatical error, YOU have to check every
 and so forth - but with online
 review, only ONE referee has to fix any 
 given problem and then it's done - the
 editing is done in real time, and 
 and visible to all reviewers AND to the authors! There is no
 redundancy of effort, so collaborative
 review is *vastly* superior to 
 independent reviews.
 >   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.
 Because if you propose, say, a new encyrtid
 from Africa, then every 
 taxonomist working
 in a collection with holdings of African Encyrtidae 
 can go to their collection and see if they
 might have additional 
 material of your new
 taxon. Under the status quo, you have no such 
 ability to reach all those people, so you are
 pretty certain to be 
 missing out on
 available material. No taxonomist, not even you, can 
 routinely send loan solicitations to EVERY
 collection in the world - but 
 if people at
 every collection in the world are subscribed to the 
 registration venue (an explicit part of my
 proposal), then it DOES 
 become part of the
 routine, and you have the OPPORTUNITY for each and 
 every one of them to see your proposed new
 taxon, and *potentially* help 
 you by
 offering additional specimens during the review process, so
 can add new material before
 registration is finalized. True, that 
 potential might not always be realized, but how
 can this possibly be 
 construed as *worse*
 than the status quo??
 people who stand to experience the greatest
 "burden" under this 
 system are
 people like me who are collection managers as well as 
 potential referees - and I would LOVE to be
 getting our specimens into 
 the hands of
 more taxonomists, working on more taxa. That's to 
 everyone's *mutual benefit*. For people in
 our community working in 
 collections, this would be an immense potential boon in
 terms of 
 exposure. In an era where we have
 to continually justify the maintenance 
 museum collections to bean-counters and administrators, why
 on earth 
 would you so vocally and harshly
 oppose a proposal that would 
 increase the visibility and interconnectivity of the 
 world's museums?? If you have a better
 idea, please do share it, but 
 don't forget how bad the status quo actually is, and the
 real threats that our community faces,
 not the least of which is our 
 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)
    "There are some enterprises
 in which a careful disorderliness
    is the true method" - Herman Melville,
 Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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