• Scratchpads service interruption: Scratchpads server maintenance is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 2 September 2014 between 10.00 a.m. and 11.00 a.m. (London/Europe). During this time all Scratchpads sites and services will be unavailable.

Electronic publication made available with amendment to the Code

The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature has voted in favour of a revised version of the amendment to the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature that was proposed in 2008. The purpose of the amendment is to expand and refine the methods of publication allowed by the Code, particularly in relation to electronic publication. The amendment establishes an Official Register of Zoological Nomenclature (with ZooBank as its online version), allows electronic publication after 2011 under certain conditions, and disallows publication on optical discs after 2012. The requirements for electronic publications are that the work be registered in ZooBank before it is published, that the work itself state the date of publication and contain evidence that registration has occurred, and that the ZooBank registration state both the name of an electronic archive intended to preserve the work and the ISSN or ISBN associated with the work. Registration of new scientific names and nomenclatural acts is not required. The Commission has confirmed that ZooBank is ready to handle the requirements of the amendment.

The amendment, with a brief discussion, is available in open access and was simultaneously published at 7am GMT 4 September 2012:
Zootaxa :  http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/list/2012/3450.html
Zookeys:  http://www.pensoft.net/journals/zookeys/article/3944/

Editorials and press coverage are available here (please note that those marked with an * do not report some details of the amendment correctly):

Zootaxa Editorial: http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/list/2012/3450.html

Nature blogs:  http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/09/zoologists-endorse-electronic-publi...

Phys Org:  http://phys.org/news/2012-09-zoologists-longer-restricted-publish-specie...

PLoS One Blog*: http://blogs.plos.org/everyone/2012/09/05/new-animal-species-now-officia...

Nature Editorial*: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7415/full/489178a.html

Discovery News*: http://news.discovery.com/animals/naming-new-species-goes-online-dnews-n...

AlphaGalileo Foundation: http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=123701&CultureCode=en

BioMed Central Blog: http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcseriesblog/2012/09/19/electronic-revol...


Information on availability & electronic publication posted before the amendment passed:

The ICZN rules governing availability of animal names require publication in a durable medium.  To date, that has been interpreted as including paper and 'hard' digital media such as CD-ROMs, but this has become increasingly problematic as electronic publication becomes more common. To address this issue the Commission is considering an amendment to the Code that will permit electronic publication of new names and nomenclatural acts. A proposed amendment has been published in the following journals :

Zootaxa (October 2008) 
African Invertebrates (November 2008) 
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (December 2008) 
Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature (December 2008)
Journal of Crustacean Biology (April 2009)

This initiated a year-long period for community input, after which a final amendment will be drafted and voted upon by the Commission (see also the Resolution adopted by the IUBS).

The summary points are:

  • Electronic-only publications should be allowed, if mechanisms can be found that give reasonable assurance of the long-term accessibility of the information they contain.
  • Some method of registration should be part of the mechanism of allowing electronic publication of names and nomenclatural acts.
  • Physical works that are not paper-based (e.g. CD-ROMs, DVDs) should be disallowed.

We welcome your input on this important topic. Previous comments in the Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature are listed below:

The rules of the current edition of the Code remain in effect until the proposed amendment passes. If the proposed amendment does not pass vote, the current rules will, of course, remain in effect. The proposed amendment has not yet been sent for Commission vote, as work is accelerating on ZooBank, the online registration system for new nomenclatural acts. ZooBank is likely to be a central mechanism in allowing e-only publication.

If you are in doubt about availability of names published in a particular journal, please ask the editor or publisher to contact the ICZN Secretariat.

For editors:  You might find it helpful to read the interim solution arrived at by PLoS in discussion with the Commission.

Sites and discussion lists where the draft amendment was publicised:

EDIT (European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy)

Swedish GBIF (in Swedish)

Acarology (discussion list)

Bryozoologists listserver

Diptera.info site

Center for North American Herpetology

Southwestern Center for Herpetological Research Discussion Forums

Ruthenica (Russian Malacological Journal)

Taxacom

ICZN listserver

Site Management: