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Re: Publication Validity and Quality

Because in the ICZN's sight it doesn't matter if it is flawed as long
as it is printed in simultaneous copies, publically available........

On Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 4:08 AM, Dan Chure <danchure@easilink.com> wrote:
> Eghads!  Thanks for this info. If, as you write, W&W work was flawed in
> "much less fulfilling all requirements of ICZN arcana.", then how could the
> ICZN rule in their favor?
> Dan
> Choo, Brian wrote:
>> 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!
>> Brian
>> ________________________________________
>> From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] On Behalf Of Dan
>> Chure [danchure@easilink.com]
>> 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.
>> Dan
>> 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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