Our Shiny Digital Future posts plus other bloggers’ thoughts, various comments and emails, eventually gave birth to a coherent (I hope!) stream of thought exhorting the ICZN to make a move on electronic publications while there is still time.

The paper

SV-POW! post about the paper

3 Responses to “Taylor (2009) on the inevitability of electronic publishing of nomenclatural acts”

  1. […] end with some discussion.  By contrast, there were lots of different ways I could have structured my plea to the ICZN to recognise electronic publication (Taylor 2009b), but I went for an approach where the section headings outlined the core argument […]

  2. David March Says:

    Is the basic problem with electronic publication that it is NOT in an official “peer-reviewed Journal?”

    At least publication on the internet makes it possible to do pretty comprehensive searches to identify and resolve conflicts in nomenclature – i.e., different names given for the same critter. It has come to light in some fields (astronomy and astrophysics, for instance) that certain fundamental and crucial predictions were made in published papers, and were nonetheless unknown to researchers who had observed phenomena confirming the predictions.

    Read up on the observation of cosmic background radiation by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, two Bell Laboratories scientists who first observed and identified the omnidirectional cosmic background thermal radiation as they prepped and calibrated the Holmdel Microwave Horn Antenna, which was intended to be used for intercontinental satellite communications. The microwave radiation had been predicted almost two decades earlier, and a Princeton team had actually built a small window-sized detector and was collecting data when Penzias and Wilson published their findings (which lead to their Nobel awards.)

    What I take from that is that it is a very substantial challenge to both keep up with the literature in your field AND attend to your specific tasks. BOTH seem to require the extensive training and broad understanding of the field needed to be able to grasp the significance of details, especially raw data.

  3. Mike Taylor Says:

    David, I think that yes a lot of the opposition to electronic publication of zoological names — which has now been accepted, BTW — did indeed stem from a fear that anything could be published on the Web, which has a mess high barrier-to-entry than printed publications.

    I do agree that keeping up with the literature is a pretty terrifying job in itself; and that now having (essentially) all of it online is the only thing that makes it possible.

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