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Re: Questions and answers...


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Posted by Travis on June 26, 2002 at 00:41:42:

In Reply to: Re: Questions and answers... posted by Eric on June 25, 2002 at 18:41:47:

Eric,

Standardization in general is designed to serve as a bridge between public and private sectors. But within and among each sector, standards provide specifications or other precise criteria to be used consistently as rules, guidelines, or definitions of characteristics.

Simply put, standards contribute to making life better, as they increase the reliability and effectiveness of the phenomena to which we apply them.

Standardization certainly does not "only apply to literature.", or only serve to "help people communicate better in the scientific literature." as you have stated. Any list that would offer this as its sole objective, is certainly shortsighted, and at a serious disadvantage with respect to competing standards. Fortunately, no standardized names list in Herpetology, from Schmidt (1953) to Crother et al. (2000), has given these statements as objectives.

I believe, that the actual impact of the SSAR/HL/ASIH (Big 3) publications in forcing the use of one list will be slight for the following reasons.

1. Most importantly, the vast majority of those that really need to see these names never will. It is not the scientific literature, but rather the popular literature and vernacular, where the benefit of standardization will be realized.

2. I have been informed by at least one editor within the Big 3, that he will not be forced to adhere to any single list of standardized names. Of course, whether that actually happens or not, remains to be seen. I only list it here to point out the potential for resistance to such a directive.

3. Some scientists will disagree with the names of any one particular list, and will utilize any of a number of other outlets in which to publish their articles.

I know where you're coming from, and certainly understand the points you've attempted to make, whether I disagree with them or not. It seems, the crux of your argument in choosing among the competing standards would boil down to what the Big 3 are backing. Yet, since the Big 3 are publishers of one of the competing lists, you reasoning appears circular. In effect, a restatement of its only premise.

In fairness, I don't have the answer either, for I am struggling in my own unique roll in all of this. On one hand being an absolute believer in standardization, and knowing that by nature, I cannot support two standards and receive the benefit of either. Yet on the other hand not being able to choose between them and the potential ramifications of that decision.

Best,

Travis



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