Yesterday I commented on the status of taxonomic names published in online only journals and received from great comments. In my post I linked to a similar article by Carl Zimmer on his blog "The Loom". Read here to see the follow-up after he contacted the ICZN. In a nutshell until the ICZN rules change or another code is adopted these names are not valid. Another possibility (as suggested by Brian Axsmith) is for PLoS One to follow what Palaeontologia Electronica does... deposit print copies in at least five libraries and openly state where the copies are located. This makes the name valid according to the ICZN.
By the way...some were worried that because the online article is not recognized by the ICZN, then the first print medium (e.g., newspapers, magazines) that "publish" the name would gain priority. However, ICZN rules also state (and unfortunately I don't have my copy nearby as I am typing this) that the article in which the name first appears must intend to actually erect a new taxonomic name. The authors of newspaper and popular magazine do not have this intent and therefore do not "officially" erect the name except as a nomen nudem. Nomina nuda have no status and thus are still available for the authors of the official publication.
Postscript: Check out this comment on The Loom from Peter Binfeld, the managing editor of PLos One. Way to go guys, but unfortunately this is just one case. For more discussion see this post on DinoGoss.
I've missed Mike Taylor's comment on Rioarribasimius....can anyone tell me where it was made?
A mathematical theory of communication
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