Submitted to: Taxon
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 30, 2003
Publication Date: February 27, 2004
Citation: Kirkbride, J.H. 2004. Nomenclatural suffrage for all registered herbaria. Taxon. 53 (2):595.
Interpretive Summary: The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature that governs the accurate scientific names of plants can be changed only if a majority of herbaria agree that such a change would be beneficial. Voting on such changes occurs at the meeting on the Nomenclatural Section prior to each International Botanical Congress. At present very large herbaria have more votes than small herbaria and new herbaria may not even be able to vote at all. As a result changes that might be advantageous to smaller herbaria are often overlooked. To correct this injustice, a proposal is made that would allow smaller herbaria to request the opportunity to vote in the Nomanclature Section at each International Botanical Congress. This proposal will be used by small herbaria especially those in developing countries to ensure that their interests are expressed in matters of nomenclature.
The large European and North American institutions have dominated botanical nomenclature. This situation occurred naturally because those institutions have invested resources in the subject. The process of modifying the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature must be broadened to include more of those who use it. Currently only those institutions selected by the Bureau of Nomenclature are entitled to caste votes in the Nomenclature Section. By informing all herbaria registered in Index Herbariorum of their right to vote at the Nomenclature Section, additional botanists will be attracted to the process, and the voting will be more representative of the entire systematic-botany community. A further requirement that each institution with one or more registered herbaria express their interest in casting votes during the Nomenclature Section will insure that only those truly interested in nomenclature will participate.