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RE: Publication Validity and Quality

In a nutshell... no.

Hoser's *Broghammerus* for example is here to stay as the genus of the 
Reticulated python if recent work on python phylogeny is accepted.

(Rawlings, L.H., Rabosky, D.L., Donnellan, S.C. & Hutchinson, M.N. (2008) 
Python phylogenetics: inference from morphology and mitochondrial DNA. 
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 93: 603-629)

Don't forget that Hoser's sins pale in comparison to Wells & Wellington 
1984/1985 - 3 (effectively) self-published, non-peer reviewed papers that 
shoddily described/resurrected hundreds of new species/genera of Australian/New 
Zealand herps .

None of their nomenclatural declarations were accompanied by much in any 
detailed diagnoses, much less fulfilling all requirements of ICZN arcana. Many 
names like *Vaderscincus* (Darth Vader skink) and *Eroticoscincus* (Sexy skink) 
were clearly of a mischevous nature. In some cases Wells & Wellington had not 
even seen the type specimens or had scooped other authors who were in the 
process of describing the taxa concerned.

In the following years, a massive campaign was mounted by hundreds of 
Australian scientists in an attempt to convince the ICZN to suppress the 
publications, rendering all their taxonomic proposals null and void. 
Ultimately, ICZN ruled in W&W's favour.

(Williams, D., Wüster, W. and Fry, B.G. (2006) 'The good, the bad and the ugly: 
Australian snake taxonomists and a history of the taxonomy of Australia's 
venomous snakes.' Toxicon, 47: 919-930)

Since then, many of W&W's names have found general acceptance:eg. Antaresia, 
Eroticoscincus, Rankinia, various subspecies of the Carpet Python (mcdowelli, 
cheynei, metcalfei etc - described as new spp. by W&W). In at least one case, a 
legitimate researcher has had his proposed (and properly described) nomen sunk 
into a W&W taxon at the behest of an ICZN ruling (Varanus teriae Sprackland 
1991 => V. keithhornei W&W 1985).

Fun times!

From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] On Behalf Of Dan Chure 
Sent: Monday, 14 June 2010 4:26 AM
To: jharris@dixie.edu
Cc: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: Publication Validity and Quality

Does anyone know if  the ICZN ever ruled on the Hoser's snake taxonomic
work?  There may be some relevance here.


Harris, Jerald wrote:
> I think the debates raging here, SV-POW, and elsewhere, stimulated 
> unintentionally as they were by Rob Gay's booklet, are good, healthy, and 
> necessary.  But in order for there to ever be some resolution to this set of 
> problems, perhaps it's time that we started discussion about _solutions_, 
> rather than circling around the issues.  I know that PhyloCode has some 
> verbage discussing the requirement for peer-review, and that's a start, but 
> here's some other issues:
> * who should (or will) define what is and is not a "publication" for the 
> purposes of taxonomic validity?  The ICZN?  The PhyloCode?  A third, entirely 
> separate committee?  The ICZN, as others have noted, is either wholly 
> intractable and stolid, or else it moves in a tectonic time frame and is 
> therefore useless in light of the rapid pace of technological change. I don't 
> know nearly enough about the PhyloCode to comment on its ability, but have to 
> wonder whether or not the idea of a publication is too different from its 
> primary mandate to need to fall under its purview.  A third organization -- 
> the International Commission on Publication Validation or somesuch...?  Who 
> would be on that commission -- taxonomists, obviously, but should publishers 
> have representation, too?  Who would choose these people?  Of course, even if 
> such a body existed and had a set of definition, how would it be enforced?  
> Or labeled (e.g., a "stamp of approval")?
> *  what criteria should be used to define "publication"?  Most seem to 
> believe that peer review should be a primary consideration, and I actually 
> agree...but as many have noted, it's hardly a universal panacea -- there have 
> been perfectly awful papers published that have been through obviously lapse 
> peer review, down even to terrible grammar, let alone facts.  It's obviously 
> impractical that all peer reviews should have to go through some sort of 
> singular committee that assesses whether or not the peer reviews have been 
> adequate -- actually, that's what individual editors (or editorial boards) 
> for individual publications are _supposed_ to do, so it all comes down to 
> individual variation between editors...and some are clearly more lapse (or 
> less able, I hate to think) in doing their duties...perhaps for perfectly 
> valid reasons (they have to teach, write grant proposals, write papers of 
> their own, supervise students, etc.), or perhaps from sheer laziness (or 
> laissez-faire attitude about acceptability).  Would reviews be any better if, 
> for example, reviewers were paid to review?  If there were full-time 
> reviewers without other duties?  Should publishers themselves, then, have a 
> say about what they will or won't accept?  Are they even educated enough on 
> the subject to do so?  I'm not pretending to have any answers here -- I've 
> spent a fair amount of time thinking about this subject and haven't come up 
> with any answers...personally, I try and apply a very high standard of rigor 
> when I review papers, but I'm far from perfect and certainly miss things, 
> especially on subjects where my own knowledge is, um, less than maximal.  So 
> when I see crap get published, I get a bit irked with the authors _and_ the 
> reviewers, and wonder how the heck the paper passed muster -- obviously, _my_ 
> idea of muster, but clearly not a _universal_ concept of muster!
>      Food for thought...
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Jerry D. Harris
> Director of Paleontology
> Dixie State College
> Science Building
> 225 South 700 East
> St. George, UT  84770   USA
> Phone: (435) 652-7758
> Fax: (435) 656-4022
> E-mail: jharris@dixie.edu
>  and     dinogami@gmail.com
> http://cactus.dixie.edu/jharris/
> "I have noticed even people who
> claim everything is predestined, and
> that we can do nothing to change it,
> look before they cross the road."
>                    -- Stephen Hawking
> "Prediction is very difficult,
> especially of the future."
>                    -- Niels Bohr

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