Message 2005-12-0027: An alternative to the Companion Volume?

Fri, 21 Oct 2005 20:14:56 +0200 (MEST)

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Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 20:14:56 +0200 (MEST)
From: [unknown]
Subject: An alternative to the Companion Volume?

I apologize for the somewhat unusual length; I think this matter is v=
important. Please bear with me.

The idea of having a Companion Volume is to avoid having a gold rush,=
competitive race where people run to get their favorite names and=
definitions registered first. I wholeheartedly agree with this intent=
But the Companion Volume may not be an effective way to implement it.=
has two potential big problems:

- If too few people contribute as authors and editors, the risk rises=
unwise* or unpopular names or definitions could be set in stone, lead=
the LARGE number of systematists who has never heard of phylogenetic=
nomenclature to despise it, perhaps even driving away some current=
adherents. If EITHER number becomes too large, the PhyloCode will go =
way of the BioCode.
- If too many people are involved, it will never reach publication.

* =3D will produce confusion when the topology changes in unforeseen =
foreseeable ways.

The balance between these dangers is probably _very_ difficult to fin=
and if we run out of luck, that balance might itself lie in an undesi=
place (like containing many largely wise but rather unpopular names a=
definitions _and_ being published 10 years from now).

Therefore I would like to suggest an, in my humble opinion, safer=
alternative: Instead of having one volume published at once, we could=
spread the work over time -- by implementing the PhyloCode piecemeal.=
Here's how I imagine that:

1. On the website, and maybe in the first issue of the Society's jour=
we post a notice that people are encouraged to publish papers (prefer=
collaboratively) on the nomenclature of their favorite clades. Such p=
already exist; an example (from dinosaurs, where currently the most=
discussion on PN happens) is cited below.
_____Maybe the publication of such papers should be restricted to the=
Society's journal. This way we would make sure that we wouldn't miss =
of them, and that all would abide to the PhyloCode. The disadvantage =
be that it would (probably) slow down the whole process.

2. The names in such a publication become _provisionally registered_.

3. A certain amount of time later (what about some five to ten years?=
) the=20
Committee on Phylogenetic Nomenclature (or whatever part or appointee=
thereof) looks what has become of the names in that paper: Are they b=
used? Are they being ignored? Are they still being discussed?
_____If they are in general use, the CPN changes their registration f=
provisional to durable (except if the authors do not want this); see =
fourth point.
_____If they are being ignored, the CPN deletes them from the registr=
_____If the discussion is still going on, it won't be interrupted -- =
CPN extends the time of provisional registration by another term.
_____Depending on the CPN's workload, the duration of a term should b=
considered a minimum (if the CPN has too much to do, it can simply=
consider the issue later).

4. Upon durable registration, the authors of the names stay the same,=
priority sets in. I'm not sure if the year and the registration numbe=
should change to reflect the date of durable registration, or whether=
should stay, too, which might make the Code retroactive. This issue n=

5. After the nomenclature of a part of the tree has been set in stone=
this way, anyone can name newly discovered clades in that part and ca=
immediately register them durably, but should maybe not need to do so=

In other words, each part of the tree gets its own Companion Volume a=
its own date for the implementation of the PhyloCode.
_____There is, by the way, a precedent for this: under the ICZN, prio=
starts in 1758, except for the spiders which start in 1751. (This=
particular publication is simply declared by the ICZN to have been=
published in 1758. We don't need to do such nonsense, we have the=
registration numbers.)

I hope to have started a vigorous discussion (and to have elevated th=
impact factor of PaleoBios by an order of magnitude ;-) )!

Michael P. Taylor & Darren Naish: The phylogenetic taxonomy [sic] of=
Diplodocoidea (Dinosauria: Sauropoda), PaleoBios 25(2), 1 -- 7 (2005)
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