[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: Bambiraptor/commercial rights rebutal

In a message dated 11/16/00 10:16:02 AM Mountain Standard Time, 
RISI@chevron.com writes:

<< "There's a growing movement to recommend that all scientific
 journals reject out-of-hand manuscripts based on commercially collected
 specimens that are in private hands."
    Then he states:
    "Commercial collectors seldom publish scientific papers."
    Interesting observations. Of course, how could a commercial
 collector publish a scientific paper if all of their work was systematically
 rejected outright by scientific journals??!! >>

Back to the Popper string...Its all about the science.  Matt Bonnan well 
described the scientific process.  Lets review, and look at this with the 
commercial collectors and their subsequent publication rights.  First, 
science must be testable, and falsafiable.  If a specimen is owned by a 
commercial collector who is a very well read and competent paleontologist, 
even if not by formal training, and he/she writes a paper for peer-reviewed 
publication it is accepted and published.  Three years later another 
paleontologist rereads the paper with the understanding gleaned from a newer 
specimen and realizes a possible error that must be studied and tested.  
Meanwhile in the past three years the fossil, being owned by a private 
collector, and not an accredited repository, has changed hands three times, 
and now resides in Tokyo.  We may or may not have a way of contacting the new 
owner for re-review of the specimen.  The data that was published by that 
private collector/paleontologist is now null and void.  It is no longer 
testable and falsafiable, nor is it repeatable, predictions cannot be made 
and the explanatory power is nil solely because it is no longer available to 
the public eye, if it ever was to begin with.

An accredited institution is better certainly, though mistakes obviously have 
been made in terms of collection management.  I can show a prime example of 
this with the U of Wyo.  Specimens are loaned out for research, I have 
received some of these specimens, and conducted my own research on them.  The 
specimens were returned, though not as promptly as would have been prudent.  
But both institutions new were they were.  However, there are institutions 
that have not returned specimens for tens of years.  The collection at UW has 
taken a great turn for the better, they are recalling all specimens loaned to 
other institutions to align specimens with the specimen numbers, and analyze 
the conservation of said specimens.  Once this is complete they will be able 
to loan materials again.  This is the first I've seen of a professional 
institution making sure that specimen numbers in its collection still have a 
specimen!  I am not familiar with a majority of institutions, IM sure that 
many have conducted similar actions.  

That rant really did have a purpose for those who actually read this far.  
Research was done in house, after discovery of materials that were later 
loaned to other institutions.  They are cleaning up, and making sure that the 
specimen still exists so that the research conducted is not regarded as null 
and void because of a misplacement of specimens.  This kind of responsibility 
is essential!  And Kudos to UW, AMNH and the many institutions that have 
their collections online now!  You will not see this in the private sector.  
There is NO accountability for a private collector that does research on 
their specimen, that is later sold to the highest bidder, whether solicited 
or not. Conservation is not upheld, not trackable, and see above for the loss 
of scientific data.  

   I have many connections in the commercial community.  I value them, for 
they are more eyes that are looking in areas I cannot.  I have encouraged 
them to donate to museums, and they have.  I am not knocking the value of 
these people.  Certainly I am not saying that they cannot perform research on 
specimens they have discovered.  Just that those specimens must be in a 
national repository, an accredited institution or school.  It is crucial.  We 
must maintain scientific rigor, otherwise what is the point.


Dave Lovelace
Wyoming Paleontological Association
935 S. Melrose
Casper, WY 82601
3072651045   h
3072682890   lab