Pseudo-Taxonomy on the WWW

Marine Biology Laboratory mblcsdla at netcom.com
Mon Oct 21 10:39:48 EST 1996


Dear Geoff and annelida readers:

I just got back in the lab today and have now read the brief flurry of 
comments regarding my Parandalia "article".  Now we know there are 
readers of the group out there.  I agree with Blake's comments that some 
debate/opinion needs to be had to best determine the proper way to handle 
electronic distribution of taxonomic information-regardless if it is 
review data or original.  Maybe this is a good start.

In review: A prior release of a different version of the Parandalia 
"article" was printed in the monthly SCAMIT Newsletter.  This newsletter 
contains a brief disclaimer of formal taxonomic useage and is controlled 
in content, not by peer review, but an editor.  I suppose I view the 
annelid newsgroup as a moderated (i.e. editor) electronic newsletter.

The advantage of electronic distribution of information; even when it is 
formatted as a formal taxonomic article, is rapid worldwide 
distribution.  This is hopefully followed by rapid commentary on the 
content of the article by interested readers.  Few science journals 
publish letters-to-the-editor which contain back and forth commentary 
between readers and author.  I believe this possibility presents one  of 
the best strengths of the web-page/newsgroup.

How many pertinent and interesting facts, studies, commentaries, etc are 
left in a drawer, file or otherwise buried because workers just don't go 
through the hassle of preparing camera ready copy and send it in to an 
editorial board that may take 3 months-?x number of years to publish.  And 
what about page/reprint charges actually making it to costly to publish 
valid data?

I hope there is some more consideration/discussion on the appropriate way 
to distribute, archive, and cite electronic information.  I also hope 
that some taxonomists will feel free to provide comments on the information 
content in the Parandalia "article".


Bye for now,

Tom Parker
mblcsdla at netcom.com



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