Subject: ICZN and self-publishing of species namesOf course ICZN should only recognize new species described in papers that have undergone peer review. Otherwise anyone with a big bank account can do it, and whether science benefits depends on the taxonomic skill and integrity of the self-publisher.
Evoldir subscribers interested in taxonomy and nomenclature please read on.
A self-proclaimed taxonomist is erecting dozens of new species every month in a series of self-published papers, based on information the scientific community generally considers extremely dubious. Until recently, this has mainly concerned Australian snakes, but the latest papers totally revise the North American rattlesnakes and have caused uproar in North American herpetological circles.
PDFs of the papers, in a self-published journal called "The Australasian Journal of Herpetology", can be found here:
Note the first website is blocked on some servers!
The papers are distributed in hard copy and so count as "published" and valid under ICZN rules (International Code of Zoological Nomenclature): as the journal states, "Print copies are distributed to major libraries and institutions that satisfy deposit requirements of the ICZN, ANL and similar bodies. "
New species will continue to be described in self-published works for the foreseeable future unless the ICZN tightens rules on what counts as published (e.g. only journals indexed by Science Citation Index and books with an ISBN number and a recognised scientific publisher).
Do Evoldir members think taxonomy benefits - or is seriously hampered - by the ICZN formally recognising species, in self-published works?
I would encourage Evol Dir members to petition the ICZN if they have strong views on this matter: to date, they have strenously resisted including peer review etc in the requirements for a species name to count as "published". The ICZN committee can be contacted here:
His name is Raymond Hoser, and some of his writings are very strange indeed. Under the title CREATIONISM AND CONTRIVED SCIENCE: A REVIEW OF RECENT PYTHON SYSTEMATICS PAPERS AND THE RESOLUTION OF ISSUES OF TAXONOMY AND NOMENCLATURE (pdf) he writes:
THE TRUTH HATERSThis is not stuff that typically goes into a scientific paper. I don't know what to think about it, but the ICZN should definitely get on the case and figure out what's going on.
Dissent in terms of the Hoser taxonomy was only voiced by a group known as the “truth haters” or “theHoser critics”, centred on two men, namely a serial wildlife smuggler David John Williams and his close friend Wolfgang Wüster a Wales based “academic” at Bangor University with a history of publishing sloppy work.
None of their continual barrage of criticisms has had a grain of merit. However using their excess amounts of spare time and the near limitless resources of the internet, these man have managed to wage a campaign against Hoser of a scale and magnitude that is truly amazing. Recruiting a small-band of misfits, with the ability to repeatedly post under false names and to censor and edit internet sites they control, these men have at times created a veneer and perception that there is widespread disagreement with the various Hoser taxonomy papers (and anything else to do with “Hoser”, including the extremely popular venomoid (surgically devenomized) snakes) when the reality among qualified practicing herpetologists has been very different (Hoser 2004c).