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Re: How is withholding access to published specimens ethical?



I agree. This is unjustifiable.

For what it's worth, I actively circulate photos of specimens I am
working on -- see for example all the Archbishop figures on SV-POW!.
It's not as if anyone's going to scoop me by describing it from
photos, is it?

-- Mike.


On 31 May 2012 21:52, Mickey Mortimer <mickey_mortimer111@msn.com> wrote:
>
> Here's an issue that's been bugging me for a while.  I can understand when 
> authors don't want photos circulating of specimens they are in the process of 
> describing, or plan to describe.  They get first dibs on their data- that's 
> fine.  But what about specimens that were found and described years or 
> decades ago?  Two coelurosaurian cases in point- Adasaurus and 
> Pelecanimimus.  Adasaurus was described in 1983(!) by Barsbold.  The holotype 
> is mounted in a museum where the public can view it, if you can afford to 
> travel.  Some people have done just that and photographed it, but the IGM 
> and/or Barsbold refuses permission to disseminate the photos.  Pelecanimimus 
> was described in 1994 by Perez-Moreno.  He's no longer doing paleontology and 
> no longer even corresponds with paleontologists, so his thesis describing it 
> in detail will never be published or distributed.  No one else is planning to 
> describe it either.  I'm unsure of whether the holotype is on display at the 
> LH, but the situation is the same.  While some people were allowed to 
> photograph it in the past (I know Perez-Moreno offered to distribute photos), 
> now those with photos aren't allowed to distribute them and I've heard even 
> taking private photos is difficult.
>
> Why does the community let this continue?  Paleontologists are quick to jump 
> on the tail of owners of privately held specimens because they have no 
> guarantee of being accessable, but I've yet to hear any outcry regarding 
> Adasaurus or Pelecanimimus.  Shouldn't we denounce this practice and those 
> who engage in it?  What possible excuse could justify it?  Even if it's going 
> to be redescribed (as Kubota may be doing for Adasaurus), surely Barsbold 
> lost all claim to keep Adasaurus to himself when he decided to publish it in 
> his 1983 monograph, and even more surely when he let almost thirty years go 
> by without describing it in detail.
>
> I can only think of a couple reasons.  One, maybe Barsbold's such a big name 
> in the field that others let it slide.  But that's not the case for 
> Perez-Moreno, and he's not even responsible for the specimen anymore, so that 
> doesn't work.  Two, maybe the coelurosaur workers who care and have clout all 
> managed to get data behind the scenes or firsthand, in which case I'd say 
> they're selfish for letting the practice to continue just because they 
> themselves can get past it.
>
> I'd be interested to hear others' thoughts.
>
> Mickey Mortimer
>
>