Re: NANFA-- re: policy on grey publication & collecting

Bruce Stallsmith (
Fri, 17 Mar 2000 21:50:22 EST

Regardless of various national laws or the ethics of collecting in various
countries, the quality of the science being done is a serious question.
Scientific publication works through peer review which is designed as both a
BS detector and a way to enhance the final version of a publication, i.e.
get informed, positive criticism. This system doesn't always work perfectly;
I have had several experiences with anonymous reviewers in which a
publication was blocked purely because someone didn't like my research
group's insistence on the existence of acid rain as a problem in this
country. But we published anyway, in another journal, and came out with
better analyses for the ordeal.

The description of new species is at least as delicate. No one is stopping
anyone else from somehow publishing accounts of new species. It's mostly a
case of legitimacy, and not generating more smoke than light. If your
account is published in Copeia or Ichthyological Explorations of Fresh
Water, your work won't be dismissed out of hand even if everyone doesn't
agree with it. If the account appears in TFH or another commercial mag, you
may have priority because it has appeared in print but who is the editor,
any other reviewers? I know that we wouldn't publish junk in AC, and I have
respect for accounts published in the Journal of the American Killifish
Association because reputable people there read articles for meaning before

The intent here is not to exclude outsiders, but to somehow improve the
quality of work done. The suggestion to limit the access of
non-professionals to museum collections is more an attempt to filter out
charlatans, or merely annoying people like Heiko Bleher (sp.?), than to
block out educated amateurs with possibly different views.

And, I write this as someone who feels that "The X-Files" is the only TV
show that makes any sense...

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, UFO Capital of Alabama

> I disagree in part...and this is where. Many of those scientist of
>other countries felt "cheated" (probably understandably so) but just how
>serious were they about doing the work? You have to remember, I am a bit
>leery of the academic world and know just how dishonest it can be and how
>large the egos involved are. I feel probably much research that was done
>and is now cried about by others might not have gotten done at all and we
>have a case of "sour grapes" now. That is speculation.
> I DO agree that no one is outside the law and all laws should be
>observed...especially in foreign countries a long ways from home. I don't
>like this because like many things, it's only one small step up to the
>next level and the amateur scientist/collector/hobbyist in THIS (for
>emphasis only) country facing the same problems.
> Your arguments are valid Chris, but I must still respectfully decline to
>support this.

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