A revolution in taxonomy: electronic-only publication OK’d by ICZN.

I’m excited.

The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) has published an amendment to the International Codeof Zoological Nomenclature (which confusingly can also be abbreviated to ICZN, but is usually called the Code instead) allowing for publication of taxonomic works in online-only journals.

This is great news. Previously, all taxonomic works (i.e., species descriptions, revisions etc) had to be published in such a way that they had a permanent hard-copy. In the old days, ALL journals were published in hard-copy, so this wasn’t a problem. But in our new  digital age, there have been several journals spring up that do not have a hard-copy version – they’re only available online, for example the journals in the PLoS and BMC stables. Any taxonomic works published in those journals have been invalid until now.

The major change to the Code is that if you wish to publish a description in an online-only journal, you must register your new species with ZooBank, and include information on where the permanent (electronic) record of your work will be held, along with the ISSN or ISBN for the publication.

Go forth and describe!

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