[Taxacom] nomen nuda and missing authors

Michael A. Ivie mivie at montana.edu
Thu Aug 23 17:26:23 CDT 2018

While we are talking about making names available without impinging on 
the work of others, I have a question about the morals of a situation 
that I think comes up relatively often.

Stephen Wayne Nichols published a paper on scaratine carabids in 
Liebherr's 1988 book on West Indian Biogeography, and used several nomen 
nuda.  The work had photos and distribution maps, and it is sometimes 
possible to figure out what the names go with.  He then finished a 
dissertation at Cornell, also in 1988, in which he fully treated the 
names with descriptions and repositories, but never published it.  A 
couple years later, he simply disappeared. He seems to have 
intentionally disappeared from all entomology related aspects of his 
former life.  I was an office mate and fellow grad student with Steve, 
and considered him a good friend, so this is not hearsay.

These nomen nuda have made their way into the literature, along with 
some new combinations and other details.  I need to use the information 
in his dissertation, but the names are unavailable, and I don't want to 
validate them under my name.  Is it moral to submit a paper under his 
name with the minimum data needed to validate the names? Would an editor 
even allow such? Should they? What about lifting passages from the 
dissertation and putting them in a paper authored by myself, but 
attributing the names to Nichols? Can I do that without permission?

Any ideas?

Mike Ivie


Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.

NOTE: two addresses with different Zip Codes depending on carriers

US Post Office Address:
Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
PO Box 173145
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717

UPS, FedEx, DHL Address:
Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
1911 West Lincoln Street
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59718

(406) 994-4610 (voice)
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mivie at montana.edu

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