Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » National Germplasm Resources Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #322514

Title: The foundation of the Melbourne Code Appendices: Announcing a new paradigm for tracking nomenclatural decisions

item Wiersema, John
item MCNEILL, J - Royal Botanical Gardens
item TURLAND, N.J - Botanischer Garten Und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem
item ORLI, S.S. - Smithsonian Institute
item WAGNER, W.L. - Smithsonian Institute

Submitted to: Taxon
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/23/2015
Publication Date: 10/28/2015
Citation: Wiersema, J.H., McNeill, J., Turland, N.J., Orli, S.S., Wagner, W.L. 2015. The foundation of the Melbourne Code Appendices: Announcing a new paradigm for tracking nomenclatural decisions. Taxon 64: 1021-1027.

Interpretive Summary: To ensure that the scientific names of algae, fungi, and plants remain stable, a set of international rules has been developed about how the names should be applied. This is especially important for international exchange of information about them, or their agricultural, horticultural, and forest products. Sometimes applying these rules causes unwanted changes in certain scientific names, leading to confusing communications about the organisms involved. Therefore, special provisions exist for obtaining formal nomenclature decisions that avoid these unwanted changes, or that otherwise resolve conflicts. The results of these decisions are published as appendices to the international rules; the latter were most recently published in 2012 and the appendices will soon appear. The content of the appendices is expanding and now considerably exceeds that of the rules themselves. Therefore, a database has been created of the entries used to produce these appendices. The database is publicly available and will be used to publish future editions of the appendices as well. This paper announces the database to the scientific community, summarizes its contents, and provides some historical analysis of the underlying process by which nomenclatural decisions are obtained. This information in the database impacts a wide range of stakeholders using these names, including scientists, regulatory officials, and those concerned with trade and commerce.

Technical Abstract: A new expanded digital resource exists for tracking decisions on all nomenclature proposals potentially contributing to Appendices II-VIII of the International Code of Nomenclature. This system owes its origins to the Smithsonian Institution's Proposals and Disposals website created by Dan Nicolson to track conservation/rejection proposals, but now also treats proposals to suppress works or for binding decisions. It was created to accommodate the steadily expanding content of the Appendices in relation to the main body of the Code, and is now available to generate these Appendices, as has been done for the Melbourne Code. A web interface allows users to query this content in various ways to review proposal histories or to extract all or part of the Appendices. An analysis of the underlying data has been conducted, yielding several comparisons between proposals submitted for the various editions of the Code. These include the type of nomenclatural remedy sought, the major group concerned, the numbers of names involved, the timeliness of the proposal evaluation process, the proposal success rate, and the diversity of proposal authorship. The success of proposals was also evaluated by the type of remedy sought and by major groups.