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Bringing botany into the 21st Century
Date:9/14/2011

Botanical taxonomy, which extends to include the formal scientific naming of all plants, algae and fungi has gone through a landmark change in the procedure scientists need to follow when they describe new species. Details of the forthcoming changes to the newly-named 'International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants' are laid out by Dr Sandra Knapp and colleagues in an article published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology. It has been suggested that perhaps only 10% of all species in the world have been named, and new species are discovered on a daily basis. Currently, in an era when scientific research is increasingly published online, the names and descriptions of all new species of algae, fungi and plants still must be lodged as printed copies at the libraries of several botanical institutions.

This existing, somewhat archaic, requirement for printed descriptions of new species to be deposited in relevant institutions has been a frustrating requirement of the code for scientists choosing to publish in online-only journals, such as BMC Evolutionary Biology. They have had to ensure that a printed copy of their article is also archived at several relevant institutions in addition to the version available online. This has become an impediment to science, not to mention creating a great deal of administrative hassle in the more efficient digital age. When the cost to scientists and institutions of subscribing to hard copies of journals is becoming prohibitive, not to mention the delays between article acceptance and publication inherent to publishing in print, why should online-only journals be penalised by the Code?

Changes to the international Code for naming algae, fungi or plants are decided on every six years at the International Botanical Congresses (IBC). Earlier this year, at the XVIII IBC held in Melbourne, Australia, it was decided that from 1 January 2012 scientists who describe new t
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Contact: Guy Melzack
guy.melzack@biomedcentral.com
44-203-192-2363
BioMed Central
Source:Eurekalert

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