[Taxacom] Availability of Nephilingis Kuntner, 2013

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Thu Aug 22 14:13:19 CDT 2019

I see that Doug made some of the points I had in mind regarding why non-compliant electronic works should *not* be among the exceptions listed in 13.1.2; namely:

> I'll remind everyone that it took over 10 years of serious debate and 
> discussion to wrangle the "electronic publication" amendments into the 
> Code, primarily because of one strong objection from the community, 
> that can be summarized as follows:
> "We don't like the idea of treating e-only documents as published 
> works, because they lack the kind of archival status that guarantees 
> we can find and access them in perpetuity"
> That's why we have Article 8.5 in its present form, which insists upon 
> evidence of archival status in order to treat an e-only work as published.
> I would assume that the majority of taxonomists STILL believe that it 
> is unacceptable for nomenclatural acts to be "published" in a manner 
> that does not guarantee access in perpetuity.

Yes, but.....  as you well know, the Commission is currently re-thinking the archive requirement -- both because it is toothless (only the intended archive need be noted; in much the same was as the intended depository for a type specimen), and it appears to be one of the main reasons why otherwise legitimate works (some of which actually *are* archived, but simply fail to indicate it in the ZooBank record) are unavailable on purely technical grounds.

I'm not weighing in one way or the other here -- just pointing out that the tide of sentiment among taxonomists may be shifting somewhat since the Amendment was drafted. And on a pedantic note, the Amendment was first discussed and drafted in 2008, and ratified in 2012, so more like 4 years, rather than 10... (although certainly the *idea* of having an Amendment, and some of the preliminary discussion about it, certainly preceded 2008....) 

> As such, we should object to any journal that compels (or allows) 
> authors to place nomenclatural acts into supplementary materials that 
> are not part of the permanent public record, and refuse to publish in 
> any such journal until and unless they change their policies.

Or...maybe just cleanse the entire nomenclatural availability thing from the messy and ambiguous and uncertain publication process entirely (but let's not go there now...)

> Be that as it may, it still does not appear to me that Nephilingis is 
> Code- compliant under Art. 8.5. People who claim it should be 
> considered available regardless of its lack of Code compliance appear 
> to be claiming that it's okay to ignore the Code. I don't agree.

I agree with your disagreement.  If the Code is not followed, then there's no reason for a Code at all, and the long term cost of that would make these sort of quibbles seem trivial.  However, I think the Commission and the Code need to be *MUCH* more nimble about adjusting to needs/preferences of the taxonomic community, and minimize the number of cases of otherwise perfectly good/legitimate names that are rendered unavailable on purely technical grounds (Note: I'm not saying this is such a name, because the concerns of perpetuity of published works are not technical, they're genuine and substantive.)  The good news is that the Commissioners seemed to be in agreement on a pathway forward in the next Edition of the Code that may allow "nimblity" (yeah, I know...not a word) to flourish.

> We didn't spend 10+ years negotiating the details of those amendments 
> just so people could ignore them for the sake of expediency. Numerous 
> authors who have violated those provisions have re- published their 
> names in such a way as to make them Code-compliant, and it looks like 
> a similar solution may be needed for Nephilingis.

In this particular case (not having studied the full details), I tend to agree.  But that's a different issue from the more fundamental problem that leads to such "limbo" names in the first place.


Richard L. Pyle, PhD
Database Coordinator | Associate Zoologist | Dive Safety Officer Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu, HI 96817-2704
Office: (808) 848-4115;  Fax: (808) 847-8252
eMail: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org

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