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Re: Questions regarding advance online publications

> I'm growing a bit confused regarding the status of taxonomic names that 
> appear in advance online publications, and am hoping for a > little help. My 
> understanding of the ICZN code is less than stellar, but I was under the 
> impression that a name essentially remains > a nomen nudum until it appears 
> in print - perhaps with a few rare exceptions. (I do seem to recall hearing 
> that the ICZN was       > considering changes to the code to deal with online 
> publication issues, but a quick visit to their site did not seem to produce 
> any > evidence that changes have been made as yet.) Quite possibly I'm wrong, 
> but I'm getting the distinct impression that there may be a > movement afoot 
> to go with the year of the online pub as the year of official publication, 
> when it varies from the print version.

You are quite correct that advance online names are currently _not_ valid until 
they appear on actual paper. There are proposals currently under consideration 
that could change this for at least some advance onliners (depending on how 
they're managed) - a copy of the proposals is at 
http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2008/f/zt01908p067.pdf, I made a commentary on 
some of them at 
 However, these proposals have not yet been ratified, and are unlikely to be 
retroactive when they are (the ICZN doesn't normally make new rules retroactive 
so that they don't mess with already-established priorities). A proposal has 
been made to accept DOI registration date as the publication date 
(http://cactus.dixie.edu/jharris/ICZN_and_DOIs.pdf), but again, this has not 
yet been ratified. Currently, paper is still the standard.

> For genera such as Malarguesaurus and Skorpiovenator (two examples that come 
> to mind for names published online in 2008, but not in > print until 2009), 
> which should be cited as the year the genus was authored?

2009 is the correct date.

> In the event that two papers erect different names for the same material, and 
> one appeared in print in between the online and print > versions of the 
> other, which name would have priority?

Aaaaargh, it's _Scansoriepidendrosauropteryx_! Currently, the name that 
appeared in print would have priority, not the name that appeared online first. 
Jerry Harris' DOI proposal (above) would change this if it passes.

> Are taxonomic names published in "online only" journals like PLoS one and 
> Palaeontologia Electronica largely accepted by the       > scientific 
> community as being valid, despite the current language of the code?

While the Code currently doesn't accept online publications _per se_, it does 
accept electronic publications for which hard copies on CD have been lodged in 
at least five separate publicly available libraries. The publications have to 
include details of where the permanent copies have been deposited. The date of 
publication (if there's a conflict) is the date the hard copies were deposited, 
not the date the electronic copy appeared online. I believe taxonomic 
publications in PLoS have met the requirements for validity, I wouldn't know 
about Palaeontologia Electronica. Note that the current proposals would remove 
CD publication in favour of permanent online archiving.

    Hope this was at least partially useful,

        Christopher Taylor