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Re: Pricesaurus = Anhanguera (Pterosauria) (free pdf)

William Parker <saurian55@gmail.com> wrote:

>  I would agree that the majority of journals do their best to try to
> conduct their peer review process with fairness and integrity,

I agree.

> but of
> course there are those on the fringe and then the 'journals' that
> aren't really journals (a couple of herpetology ones come to mind).  I
> was also thinking more along the lines of independent bulletin series
> where the peer review policies may not be as strict.  How exactly does
> one validate the line between 'gray' and 'legit'?

One approach is for the ICZN to compile a list of all bona fide
peer-reviewed scientific journals.  These would be mandated as the
only avenues to name new genera and species.  So "journals" that
aren't really journals (like the one-off "Dinosaur Museum Journal") or
aren't journals at all (like "Prehistoric Times") wouldn't make the
cut.  Bulletin series are more tricky to validate; some are
high-quality, others less so (either scientifically or ethically, as
"Aetogate" demonstrated).  But in many cases an illegitimate
publication is bit like pornography: Hard to define, but you know it
when you see it.

> Again I think that
> requiring taxonomic acts to be subject to stringent peer review is a
> good idea, I just am unsure how to define stringent peer review for
> this purpose. All of us probably have personal opinions on those we
> consider to have the ability to provide a proper review and on those
> we don't, but how do we quantify this? Does one need a peer review
> certification?

A good question; I wish I had a good answer.  One first step is for
the ICZN to eliminate phoney journals and self-publication as
appropriate avenues for publication.  Journals on the fringes could be
given the benefit of the doubt, but put on notice.

It's pertinent that a lot of the disputes over names that go before
the ICZN concern names that were published in the 'gray' literature.
So one would think the ICZN has a vested interest in preemptively
curtailing the worst offenders.  At the moment, Article 8 of the ICZN
Code ("What constitutes published work.") is far too vague and
permissive, and a source of confusion regarding what actually
constitutes "published work".  More darkly, the rules as they stand
are an open invitation to mischief.