The ICZN now recognises electronic publication!
September 4, 2012
It’s been a looong time coming, but I just got this email from Ellinor Michel, Executive Secretary of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature:
The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature has voted in favour of a revised version of the amendment to the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature that was proposed in 2008. The purpose of the amendment is to expand and refine the methods of publication allowed by the Code, particularly in relation to electronic publication. The amendment establishes an Official Register of Zoological Nomenclature (with ZooBank as its online version), allows electronic publication after 2011 under certain conditions, and disallows publication on optical discs after 2012. The requirements for electronic publications are that the work be registered in ZooBank before it is published, that the work itself state the date of publication and contain evidence that registration has occurred, and that the ZooBank registration state both the name of an electronic archive intended to preserve the work and the ISSN or ISBN associated with the work. Registration of new scientific names and nomenclatural acts is not required. The Commission has confirmed that ZooBank is ready to handle the requirements of the amendment.
Fantastic news. The article describing the change says that “The Commission voted as follows on the final version of the amendment … For: 23. Against: 3. Abstain: 1”. That is a satisfyingly emphatic margin, showing that electronic publication has not sneaked past the Commission but been enthusiastically (if belatedly) welcomed.
There is plenty to quibble about in the detail of the accepted amendment. Honestly, I do not feel that ZooBank is ready for prime time, for example. But that is details, for another time. Right now, the appropriate response is as follows:
Welcome to the Shiny Digital Present!
Almost immediate update
There’s a little more background on the decision in a Zootaxa editorial. Like the original email quoted above, it seems a little shaky on the subject of whether registration is or is not required: “The amendment … does not require the registration of new scientific names and nomenclatural acts” but “ICZN … requires both registration of the work (so that it is known widely to the public) and archiving (so that it is preserved for the future)”.
I’ll have to read the actual amendment to nail this down.
Around the web (to be updated on a rolling basis):
- Overview at Ichthyosaurs: a day in the life
- Brief note at Heinrich Mallison’s Dinosaur Palaeo
- Useful and detailed discussion at Christopher Taylor’s Catalogue of Organisms.
- Zoologists endorse electronic publication for new species at the Nature News bloig