[Tdwg-guid] [Taxacom] Demise of Phyloinformatics journal

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Sun Nov 26 20:17:10 CET 2006

Tom Lammers wrote:

> Indeed.  Particularly for those who think the Codes should 
> permit description of new taxa electronically.   This 
> highlights what utter nonsense and folly such a move would 
> be.  Chasing after "the latest thing" and "the current trend" 
> is fine for teenyboppers, fashion, and music.  As scientists, 
> however, we have an obligation to posterity to eschew such 
> foolishness. 

I disagree.

As I pointed out in my reply to Dick Jensen the other day on Taxacom, I
believe a strong case can be made that electronic information has the
*potential* for far greater persistence (not to mention access) than
paper-based publication. The big question is: How can we *realize* this
potential?  I think most of us would agree that we have not yet realized it
(though the main obstacles are not exemplified by the demise of the
Phyloinformatics journal -- it's not an issue for publishers, it's an issue
for consumers). Fortunately, the Codes have not yet changed to accommodate
online-only publication, either.

But the real foolishness, in my opinion, would be to *fail* to pursue
electronic/internet means of publication and information dissemination for
taxonomy.  Indeed, I think it is our *responsibility* to do so.  The problem
is, only a tiny fraction of the community takes the time to understand the
real implications of the issue (on both sides), and fewer still actively
participate in the conversation.  A big part of realizing the potential is
broad community involvement and participation.  These conversations on
Taxacom and other lists are a good start, but we're not even scratching the
surface of the full community (which extends well beyond taxonomists to
include *all* consumers of taxonomic nomenclature).


Richard L. Pyle, PhD
Database Coordinator for Natural Sciences
  and Associate Zoologist in Ichthyology
Department of Natural Sciences, Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org

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