Tuesday, April 01, 2008

What is a bad taxonomic publication?

In a recent publication by Bolton et al., the authors make a bold statement that this is "one of the most inadequate papers that has ever been produced in ant taxonomy". Is it really?

Makhan's descriptions are so clear that they can simply synonymize them even with the bad images in the publication allow nevertheless identifying even misidentified species without having to resort to check the holotype.

I would think, despite the fact that these are probably synonyms, the descriptions are not so bad at all.

I would also argue, that such a paper is preferable to all the papers by the authors refer to, none of which is open access, and thus neither expert or any other person can make their own mind up without a substantial effort to get the publications, but has just believe them blindly.

It would be much better if the authors would have present images of all the types of the species the refer to, plus their descriptions. They could then make a proper argument and not build upon "authority".

Since we are running a project with Zootaxa, you can read the comments and the original descriptions here, and hopefully in the near future all the Pyramica descriptions mentioned will be online as well through plazi.org.

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