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RE: New publication: Notes on Early Mesozoic Theropods by Robert Gay
I'd like to point out that this method of publication, taking your work to a
printer to be produced, was the preferred method for publication during the
time of Cope and Marsh, when institutions ran contracts with publishing houses
to produce their volumes. Many of Cope's taxa were produced in precisely this
fashion due to Marsh's cornering the local houses' venues, and thus were
created taxa "willy nilly." Cope and Marsh, two very prolific taxonomists, were
not wont to restrain themselves due to either exclusive unedited, unreviewed
data, but would also send their work for nitpicking by their compratriots for
review before sending off to the houses to produce out-of-pocket copies. Cope's
famous "reverse Elasmosaur" is just one example where not only did he pay a
house to produce material, but he paid to reclaim the errors and reproduce the
revision, on demand. Cope's Geological Survey papers were similarly published
in this manner, though their costs were reimbursed to Cope (which he had to
Not only will this method be reminiscent of the past, it is likely that,
headache-producing it might be, it will invoke immediate steps to regulate it,
just as any publishing medium today. The idea that publication requires a
journal is not only unique to today's world, it didn't even exist in Cope's and
Marsh's day, where Cope (due to Marsh's influence) produce "pamphlets" much as
Pickering has done. As distasteful as it may seem, if there is a publication
house to make it, a document can be made that is both durable, and guaranteed.
Proofing through review and having a permanent digital or physical form from
which all copies would be made and compared is likely going to be the standard
for all new forms of such publication, regardless and especially due to being
available online _as well_.
What I think this will mean is that dedicated journals should compete for the
ability to publish work as well as to use such services mush as supermarkets
today (in the West, anyway) compete for our coinage to sell brands of food
(some of them exclusive to themselves. Lulu seems to be viable publication, and
as long as we adhere to the ICZN's rules on terms of publication (and we
should), then it's product will be included among venues for production.
I think the objective view of the Phylocode and what should be the view of
the ICZN, that of review, will be required for scientific receipt of taxonomy.
This would be identifiable terminology of any sort such that geological works,
anatomical descriptions, etc., and would require certain objectives including
at least one public reviewer's name and credentials, and several private
referees. I even wonder why we do NOT have a "union" of reviewers already
protecting and guaranteeing what has been considered a required but flawed
process in which the personal views of said reviewer can make or sink a work,
deservedly or not. The court of public (peer) and scientific (institutional)
opinion is the only system we use now to evaluate the quality of work, so why
not extend this to the process in which it is produced? The methods of its
production at this point may be less viable, but it also allows such things as
an unfair review to be permitted when the document is publically available, as
is its reviews, to the organizations meant to "police" it.
Times are changing: Not only will we see this happen more often, I should
say, but I am surprised we are still worried about durable copies when
electronic systems are still far more viable for discourse than costly, and
potentially damaging, physical copies, especially on an environmental level.
Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)
"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)
"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion
> Date: Mon, 7 Jun 2010 23:59:49 -0700
> From: email@example.com
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> CC: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: New publication: Notes on Early Mesozoic Theropods by Robert Gay
> Dan Chure wrote:
>> Frankly, my general concern about Lulu and other such self
>> publishing venues is that any restraints on nomenclature
>> will disappear and taxa will be created willy nilly.
> Yes, this is a HUGE concern. Especially because advances in technology mean
> that self-publication is now much cheaper than it used to be. All you need is
> a computer and a printer, and off you go.
>> regardless of knowledge and abilities, will be able to
>> create valid taxa without any restraints.
> Indeed. When it comes to what constitutes a published work, Article 8 of the
> ICZN Code is so vague and permissive that it is laughably easy to meet the
>> I believe most
>> people see that as a serious problem. I agree with Tom
>> Williams that the self-publication can of worms that
>> should be shut down by ICZN.
> There are some who call me... 'Tim'. ;-)
> The ICZN has a vested interest in heading this off at the pass, because a
> proliferation of self-published genera and species is undoubtedly going to
> lead to nomenclatural disputes. Such disputes regarding priority can only be
> resolved by the ICZN.
> Also it is manifestly unfair that a self-published work should trump a
> peer-reviewed paper in a scientific journal. For example, if two people want
> to erect a new genus for the same species (like _"Dilophosaurus" sinensis_),
> and Person A chooses to self-publish whereas Person B submits the description
> to a scientific journal, then Person A will likely get his/her genus
> published first. Peer review takes time (usually far too much time...),
> whereas self-publication is entirely at the convenience of the author. Person
> A should not be penalized because he/she chose a more scientifically rigorous
> route for publication.
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