"Without such codes governing naming, there would be chaos; numerous different names could exist for the same species and numerous different species would potentially be referred to by the same name. This would impact all branches of life sciences as the name of a species be it a pathogen or a crop represents a fundamental part of communicating knowledge about the natural world."
A key part of the current code for the ICBN is that names must be associated with a print copy on the same day the article is published. However, publishing is rapidly changing and many journals, such as those published by the Public Library of Science, are online only. As publishing changes, so the Codes themselves will change, but the rate of change in publishing is currently outstripping that of the Codes. By separating the printing process from the publisher, this paper is the first botanical example of how flexibility of both authors and publishers can result in change without subsequent instability in names.
The botanical code is amended every 6 years through the deliberations of a Nomenclature Section at International Botanical Congresses, the last was in Vienna in 2005, and the next in Melbourne in 2011. In 2005, new recommendations were introduced to set guidelines for future electronic publishing. Dr Knapp will preside as President of the 2011 Nomenclature Section in Melbourne, and the issue of electronic publishing of new names will be part of the debates about changes to the Code that will help taxonomists keep pace with the rapidly changing nature of scholarly communication.
"The Code will evolve and adapt to the changing needs of scientists, and publishers have an important role to play to help ensure that the changes are implemented correctly" Dr
Public Library of Science