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RE: Pickering's nomina nuda (was RE: Rob Gay's print-on-demand publication of Kayentavenator elysiae

Mickey Mortimer wrote:

<But I ask again, where were the complaints about Madsen and Welles 
(2000) just being Welles work that Madsen published posthumously?>

This is somewhat misinformed, Mickey:

  Madsen and Welles wrote most of their paper together, prepared from an 
unfinished manuscript Welles had initially prepared. Welles passed way during 
this process, leaving Madsen to finish it. Madsen did not receive the same 
manuscript in the same manner as Pickering, and then just add his own flare to 
it. There is a substantive amount of writing in Madsen and Welles that shows 
development (and knowledge) of the work that came after Welles' original 
manuscript, based on Pickering's assertions that he edited and annotated what 
was Welles' work, then cut it into his pieces as "previews" and the actual work 
shown therein. This indicates that there are substantial differences in the 
effort Madsen took versus Pickering, as their situations (including handling of 
Welles' work) are entirely different.

  So, to make this clearer:

  Madsen -- wrote a paper WITH Welles, which just happened to build on Welles' 
hypothesis that the CLQ ceratosaurs were a different species from the Bone 
Cabin skeleton, previously produced as unpublished work (in partim) by Welles. 
It shows that Welles was in fact working on publishing his work (not by proxy), 
before his death.
  Pickering -- chose to edit pieces of the manuscript dealing with the taxonomy 
as they were in the 'script in between discussions of King King, Jurassic Park, 
and so on.

  That Pickering presented his material to parties he was agreeable to, but 
without deposition in readily accessible public facilities, it is virtually 
impossible to attain a copy of this without 1) asking someone else who has it 
or 2) asking Pickering [impossible if he hates you]. This is not how publicly 
available (and ICZN-mandated) works should be handled; this (and this alone) is 
what disqualifies Pickering's self-publication as ICZN-incompatible.


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: Sat, 12 Jun 2010 03:51:47 -0700
> From: mickey_mortimer111@msn.com
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: RE: Pickering's nomina nuda (was RE: Rob Gay's print-on-demand 
> publication of Kayentavenator elysiae
> Tim Williams wrote-
>> And therein lies the problem. Technology has advanced to the point at which 
>> crap science can have the veneer of a professional publication. Just look at 
>> the "Dinosaur Museum Journal" as one such self-publication effort that was 
>> of exceedingly poor quality scientifically.
> Well, actually for Pickering's Archosauromorpha papers the opposite is true. 
> They look like pamphlets, but most contain professional-quality descriptions. 
> As you go on to say, much of this is no doubt due to Welles' work being the 
> basis of it. 
>> I agree with Dan 100% on this one. "Because he did it, then it's OK for me 
>> to do it" isn't a legitimate defense. We DEFINITELY have a problem with 
>> shoddy work getting published. However, for peer-reviewed publications 
>> shoddy work is the exception; for self-published publications shoddy work is 
>> the rule. All your examples are just providing more evidence for this.
> I honestly don't think we have enough examples of self published papers to 
> say they're generally bad. Czerkas' book was terrible yes, but his peer 
> reviewed papers are equally terrible. Olshevsky's Mesozoic Meanderings have 
> no significant issues as far as I can tell. Paul's Dinosaurs of the Air is 
> quite high quality.
>> Why stop here? I say we should *start* here. These particular crap names are 
>> a good place to start. Sure, crap science still appears in official 
>> journals. But considering the huge number of dinosaur-related papers that 
>> have been published, crap papers are a relatively small minority. Your 
>> (Mickey's) attitude seems to be that because some journals already have low 
>> standards that we should give up on trying to enforce any standards at all.
>> I say we should be pulling our collective fingers out and start enforcing 
>> higher standards. If we give the green light to any and all self-published 
>> works, then the floodgates will open. There will be a deluge of crap names 
>> flooding the literature. Pickering's verbal diarrhea is just the start. This 
>> cannot be helpful to dinosaur paleontology.
>> The trouble with rogue taxonomists is that they don't put their hands up as 
>> rogue taxonomists. Every rogue taxonomist thinks of him- or herself as at 
>> least as qualified as the professionals. With the individual cited in the 
>> subject line (S. Pickering) the very suggestion that he might not be a 
>> first-rate paleontologist elicits a violent response and threats of lawsuits 
>> on the grounds of anti-Semitism (no, I'm not making this up).
>> And when it comes to rogue taxonomy, Pickering is not the worst. There's 
>> some guy who resides in Eastern Europe (I can't remember his name, but his 
>> name sounded French) who freely offers his own insights into dinosaur 
>> taxonomy complete with racist diatribes. (Surely I can't be the only person 
>> who's received emails from this guy, before I blacklisted him.) Do you want 
>> this nutter getting a wiff of the wonders of self-publication?
> I never said we should give up trying to enforce standards, I just think that 
> publishing in journals hasn't been shown to improve standards. Instead what 
> we need is useful peer review. We could as a paleontological community come 
> up with lists of qualified peer reviewers for each topic (theropods, 
> ichthyosaurs, biomechanics, etc.), then demand that every paper on that topc 
> has to not only go through a few of those reviewers, but any comments HAVE to 
> be incorporated (even if just to say "Williams bilieves this conclusion is 
> not justified"). But there's a problem. I wouldn't put Feduccia anywhere near 
> a paper on bird origins, but from his perspective it's Chiappe, Clarke et al. 
> who are misled. So by what authority do we decide who's qualified? There was 
> a time when both cladistics and BAD were crazy fringe movements after all, 
> and surely we don't want to stifle new ideas or trends.
> Maybe instead we have to start deciding whether we really value a name or 
> not. Why is it possible for someone to potentially make a valid ganus name 
> for "Dilophosaurus" sinensis? Because the experts who did the hard work to 
> determine it's distinct haven't published one yet. That's the advantage the 
> real experts will always have- the ability to determine what deserves a new 
> name and what doesn't. If we really care about a name, we can publish it at 
> the same time we announce a taxon is distinct. In the case of "D." sinensis, 
> it's been over a decade since Lamanna et al. announced it wasn't 
> Dilophosaurus. How much time do they get to have dibs on naming rights? Is 
> there even a paper in preparation? I'm certainly not advocating what happened 
> in Aetogate, but there's a point past which we have less right to complain. 
> And at a certain level, why does it matter what a name is? It's just a label. 
> Who actually knows what half the names that exist actually mean, and who 
> knows anything about the people who named them 100 years ago? What's 
> important and cited are the quality descriptions that only experts can write. 
> The problem's even less important for synonyms. Sure you can name 
> Tyrannosaurus mofo based on a T. rex specimen, but who will care except 
> Olshevsky? How many of us have heard of Allosaurus "carnegeii"? How many 
> reviews of Allosaurus do you see where it's even mentioned?
> His name is Jean Pierre d'Amore, btw. Or Peter Mihalda. He's really a rogue 
> phylogeneticist more than a rogue taxonomist. But the less said about him the 
> better...
>> Yes, the description of Dandakosaurus is a pile of crap. So what do we do? 
>> Do we give our middle finger to piles of crap, and start enforcing higher 
>> standards? - which is my approach. Or do we say, "Well there's already so 
>> much crap out there that there's no point trying to stop it now", which is 
>> how I characterize your approach. I think the ICZN needs to update the Code 
>> to prevent the proliferation of rogue taxonomy. Bringing its standards into 
>> line with the PhyloCode and allowing only peer reviewed publications is a 
>> good place to start. I agree that it won't solve everything - but it may 
>> stop the rot.
> So are you saying if someone described the Dandakosaurus material competantly 
> under a different name that you'd start using that name for the taxon instead 
> of Dandakosaurus?
> Mickey Mortimer
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