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RE: How is withholding access to published specimens ethical?



Yet the Archbishop hasn't been described yet, so I wouldn't blame you even if 
you did withhold data on it.  You'd be surprised that people have warned me 
against doing exactly what you describe, but with published taxa!  Say I did 
have photos of Adasaurus and put a detailed description with photos up on The 
Theropod Database.  Where's the harm?  I can't scoop Barsbold- he named it when 
I was one year old!

Mickey Mortimer

----------------------------------------
> From: mike@indexdata.com
> Date: Thu, 31 May 2012 22:00:03 +0100
> Subject: Re: How is withholding access to published specimens ethical?
> To: mickey_mortimer111@msn.com
> CC: dinosaur@usc.edu
>
> 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
> >
> >