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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 how do you know that? I certainly don't want to be seen as taking
Pickering's side, but almost the entire paper reads like Welles' works
(e.g. Dilophosaurus) and not Madsen's (e.g. Allosaurus, Marshosaurus).
There are no references covering the time after Welles' death, and the
(extremely short) systematics section contains things that would never
be seen in a paper from 2000, such as putting Proceratosaurus in
Ceratosauridae and using the name Podokesauridae.>
The paper was in limbo for a while, that I know. I understand that for the
most part, Madsen left the secondary works of the paper, the systematic
sections, as they were before Welles's death; much of the anatomical work,
which was the primary portion of the paper, was derived well in advanced of
this and may be considered Madsen's primary contribution. Much of my
information also derives from a brief conversation with Jim Madsen and at least
two other workers, although I lack this data at current (one was in person).
Simple reading of some of what Pickering cut into his work and what the CLDQ
Ceratosaur paper does derive a sense that Madsen not only worked on this, but
it reveals original text. And without trying to make a personal claim here, but
I am more willing to trust Madsen on the subject (as I'd never talked to
Welles), as well as word of mouth of his peers, than I will Pickering, based
simply on the number of people who will back up the one, but not the other
(even if Pickering is right).
<We're arguing different
issues then. I thought this thread (Pickering's nomina nuda) was about
the need for action to prevent "rogue taxonomists" like Pickering from
publishing in venues like Lulu that could be seen as ICZN compliant. Not
about whether Lulu is ICZN compliant or what the status of Pickering's
previously distributed papers is.>
We are arguing about the quality of effort that must be put into place to
provide a scientific, public work that can be accepted for taxonomic purposes.
This has two subsections:
Public receipt of the work requires two of its own criteria: quality of
composition (the thing you seem to want to focus on, i.e., the style or effect
of the writing) and distributive effect (how much of an effort was made to
permit others to attain the work).
Adherence to the ICZN is the other section, and with lack of deposition into
public libraries, and the review of his current peers, it seems this fails as
Comparing Gay's work to Pickering's is a red-herring, as it leads us astray
of the topic that was first at issue (whether this qualifies as a legitimate
work through the eyes of the ICZN), and has no effective material value in this
discuss (although it is a caution to science writing). But if we want to focus
on the quality of Gay's work instead of its adherence to the ICZN, we come to a
situation where we can either criticize the writing style and its historic
depth, or its nature as a self-published work. On the one side, you have a
scientific endeavor that allows Gay's peers to know he's gone through a
substantive effort to be current, and current review would have made this
permissible; on the other, you have a disinclination to permit self-publication
(rather than digital publication) to validate taxonomic work published as such.
As it is, I (and most others) have focused instead on one of the ICZN's three
criteria: public accessibility, availability, and numerousness and durability,
and it must be public. In this case, the first criterion is the problematic one
for Gay, while both the first and second are problematic for Pickering; Paul's
work has always satisfied these issues, so there should be no use in bringing
him in, save the accessibility of his writing style to the reader, which is
The way I see it, Gay's work needs to change to become acceptable: If he
wants, he can obtain an ISBN and treat it as a book; to do this, he must
republish it, and he can do this through Lulu.com I should think, and create
multiple hard copies to submit to satisfy the ICZN's first criterion. This will
create a "new" work, I think, and allows him to bring the work up to snuff in
both time and citations, as well as get a new set of reviews to complement it.
Pickering refuses to accept that his work is flawed in any way, so there's a
lost cause and it should do well to stop placing Pickering's work in contention
for "right" taxonomic works.
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
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