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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!
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Date: Thu, 31 May 2012 22:00:03 +0100
> Subject: Re: How is withholding access to published specimens ethical?
> To: email@example.com
> CC: firstname.lastname@example.org
> 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 <email@example.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