[Taxacom] Article 8 compliance

Adam Cotton adamcot at cscoms.com
Fri Mar 31 02:26:00 CDT 2017

Much as I actually like a lot of what John is saying, I do think it is worth 
pointing out that John is confusing taxonomy and nomenclature here, at least 
in his wording.

There is no problem whatsoever producing taxonomic works as pdfs or e-only 
papers, but it is the NOMENCLATORIAL changes (those governed by the ICZN 
Code) that we are really concerned with here. So if someone publishes the 
results of pure taxonomy, without any nomenclatorial acts covered in the 
Code, they are free to publish in any way they want to. It is only when 
nomenclature is involved (new names, lectotype designations etc) that the 
ICZN Code governs what is "published" in the sense of the Code or not. Note 
that placing taxa in synonymy, for example, is not a nomenclatorial act.

I actually agree with John that it would be much easier if the Code was less 
restrictive on e-publishing than it currently is via the Amendment allowing 
e-publication; although John's scenario of having to register all 380 new 
names individually does not currently apply, as all that is necessary now is 
registration of an e-only work rather than each nomenclatorial act. I think 
that it should become easier rather than harder, with safeguards in place to 
ensure that works cannot easily be lost. Perhaps actual archiving (rather 
than a statement of intent) would be a necessity if e-publication is made 
easier. It might be a good idea (although where the funds would come from is 
another issue) if the ICZN or Zoobank had its own archive for all new e-only 
publications in future, and publication/availability would depend on receipt 
of the pdf by the ICZN/Zoobank rather than a process whereby individual 
nomenclatorial acts are registered.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John Noyes" <j.noyes at nhm.ac.uk>
To: <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>; <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Friday, March 31, 2017 6:13 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Article 8 compliance

> Hi Rich,
> I am just going to throw a bit of a spanner in the works. Since sending 
> you my reply I have been giving this a bit of thought. I have come to some 
> surprising conclusions (to me at least). Why do we need to register names 
> at all? Why do we need ZooBank?
> Personally I like to keep things as simple as possible and it seems to me 
> that your comments make it sound that things could get a whole lot more 
> complicated. Of course nobody knows yet what will be required for 
> registration under your system (maybe you can give us some ideas of what 
> you personally have in mind). My serious worry is that the requirements to 
> register each name would be so complex and time consuming that it may end 
> up being a serious impediment to the registration process itself. In turn 
> this would (I think would rather than might) result in parallel 
> nomenclatures/taxonomies: one that complies with the system of 
> "registration = available" and another that basically maintains the status 
> quo. I must say, as one who has produced and still hopes to produce larger 
> revisionary works (up to 380 new species in each) I would absolutely baulk 
> at sitting down to register that number of new names (name, typification, 
> primary type depository, basic diagnostic characters (surely those will be 
> a requirement), etc.). I doubt that any publisher I have in mind would do 
> this for me. I am not alone feeling this way.
> By far the simplest solution is to treat electronic publications the same 
> as printed publications without any requirement for registration. It could 
> be quite a bold step, but at a stroke we would lose the creation of new so 
> called "orphan taxa". It could be a requirement that only PDFs and PDF/As 
> would be acceptable as valid e-publications, but this could be reviewed, 
> under discussion with publishers, when the need arises if novel methods of 
> acceptable electronic publication appear. However, even with this 
> simplicity some problems would continue but they could be ironed out by 
> discussion with publishers, i.e. date of publication; pagination change in 
> different versions of the same article, etc.
> What about archiving electronic publications? I think at best the Code can 
> only recommend this. As it stands there is no guarantee that publishers 
> archive their e-publications even though it is a requirement that they 
> name an archive when registering an article on ZooBank. I would hope that 
> most publishers do actually archive their publications but it is difficult 
> to prove this. Of course there is a worry that some e-published articles 
> will be lost if they are not archived. I think this would be a very, very 
> rare occurrence and would have very little effect on taxonomy as a whole. 
> In almost every case there will be a copy maintained somewhere. If an 
> article can be shown to be lost might it be possible for the ICZN to make 
> a ruling that all included nomenclatural acts are deemed unavailable? 
> After all, we already have to do something along these lines if we want to 
> designate a neotype (but without involving the ICZN). I suspect that in 
> such a case the taxonomy included in the article would have been eminently 
> forgettable in any case, that being the reason it is eventually lost.
> OK, we could still include a recommendation that all new names are 
> registered on ZooBank. I think most taxonomists would be happy to do this 
> on a voluntary basis so long as the requirements are kept to the bare 
> minimum.  Personally I do not see much difference between the 
> "registration = available" model and a requirement that all taxonomic 
> articles must published only in specified journals (this suggestion was 
> overwhelmingly thrown out by the botanists and is not popular amongst 
> zoologists). I think that either system could be seen as "western 
> taxonomic imperialism".
> If e-publications are accepted without the impediment of registration the 
> it could get very much cheaper and quicker to publish taxonomy. If 
> taxonomists/publishers were given the option of archiving their work(s) on 
> ZooBank and making them freely available (i.e. open access) then that 
> would be a real bonus. Some of the most productive taxonomists at the 
> moment are retired and find it difficult to obtain funds to pay for 
> publishing. However they can easily self-publish and in making their 
> publications open access their works would become much more widely and 
> easily available than under the current system. For those whose careers 
> depend on publishing in higher ranking journals nothing needs to change 
> from the system that we currently have. I really believe that if this were 
> to be followed the rate of publication in taxonomy would dramatically 
> increase because it would become faster, easier and cheaper. I do not 
> think that the risk of poor taxonomy or taxonomic vandalism under this 
> system would be any worse than under any other model except perhaps Doug's 
> "registered = published = available" (which is much less acceptable to me 
> than publishing taxonomy only in specified journals).
> Just some thoughts, but I think some of the above points need to be aired.
> 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: Richard Pyle [mailto:pylediver at gmail.com] On Behalf Of Richard Pyle
> Sent: 30 March 2017 18:42
> To: John Noyes; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Article 8 compliance
> Hi John,
>> Fair enough, but maybe it is not so much crafting the 5th edition of
>> the Code to offer a more stable solution but crafting ZooBank to do that.
> Yes, the two go hand-in-hand.  Note that I said the new system should be 
> "modelled after" ZooBank.  A LOT would have to change with the existing 
> ZooBank before it could fulfill the function I imagine.
>> Do you have a cunning plan?
> I'm not sure "cunning" is the best adjective, but there certainly is a 
> plan.
>> By any reckoning it would take an
>> investment of at least $10m.
> More like ~$1-2M for initial development, and then something on the order 
> of a few $K per year to maintain, plus occasional small (5-figure) grants 
> to add major new features/etc. as needed/requested by the community.
>> Meanwhile we still have to live with the 4th edition and the Article 8
>> amendment . . .
> I predict a new, robust ZooBank will be in existence well before the 5th 
> Edition goes into effect, but they need to happen in parallel.  Of course, 
> to build a radically new approach to how names are established in a 
> Code-compliant fashion requires very strong engagement by the broader 
> community.  I believe the new system should be designed bottom-up (i.e., 
> by the community establishing a clear set of priorities), rather than the 
> top down. And that means many conversations like this one.  Before we even 
> get into the detailed discussions, we (the community) needs to decide 
> things like:
> - What are the minimum required pieces of information needed to confer 
> availability to new names and acts?
> - What additional optional information should be accommodated?
> - If provisions such as Art. 13.1.1 are maintained, then exactly what 
> objective threshold should be used to determine whether the requirement 
> for "a description or definition that states in words characters that are 
> purported to differentiate the taxon" has been fulfilled?
> - Should the rules go beyond stating the name and location of the 
> collection where the type is deposited, and, for example elevate 
> Recommendation 73C.6 to a requirement? (e.g., require an explicit 
> actionable identifier for a type specimen be indicated)
> - Should all new names and acts undergo some form of independent review 
> prior to being established as available?  If so, how are the reviewers 
> determined, and who arbitrates disputes among conflicting reviews?
> I could go on and on, but the point is that the system should be defined 
> by the identified needs; not implemented first to figure out what the 
> strengths and weaknesses are after the fact.  THIS is the conversation we 
> need to be having as a broader community.
> In addressing your point above, another option would be to craft another 
> Amendment (= "band aid") to the fourth edition; but I'm strongly opposed 
> to that because it would represent a significant distraction from getting 
> the more important work of the 5th Edition completed.
> Aloha,
> Rich
> Richard L. Pyle, PhD
> Database Coordinator for Natural Sciences | Associate Zoologist in 
> Ichthyology | Dive Safety Officer Department of Natural Sciences, Bishop 
> Museum, 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
> Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252 email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org 
> http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/staff/pylerichard.html
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