Field of Science

Kudos to PLOS ONE

The latest dinosaur paper causing a buzz on the blogosphere is a new paper by Hocknull et al. describing three new dinosaurs (two sauropods and one theropod) from the Middle Cretaceous of Australia. Because the paper is Open Access you can download and read it for free from here. Other blog coverage includes bits from SVPOW (of course) and The Open Source Paleontologist. In the later post Andy Farke briefly mentions that this new article makes clear statements to establish the nomenclatural availability of the newly proposed taxonomic names. If you remember this topic recently caused some intense discussion on Carl Zimmer's blog The Loom regarding the early primate Darwinius. I also covered it briefly here, and subsequently the journal PLOS ONE, which is an open access online only publication, took steps to ensure the taxonomic availability of Darwinius and then went back and did the same for other new taxa which it had published.

Well it looks like PLOS ONE clearly has their act together now regarding the ICZN rules. A section in the new Hocknull et al. paper explicitly lists the libraries where paper copies of the article have been distributed (satisfying ICZN Article 8.6). Furthermore, interested parties can order paper copies for $10 from PLOS ONE. I find this last bit interesting. Of course, with open access papers you can download and print off your own copy; however, in many cases you are at the mercy of the print quality of your printer. Now for a modest fee ($10 in this case) you can get a printed (hopefully reprint quality) copy sent to you. I'm definitely one of the older crowd who still has a hard time reading off a computer screen and love holding an actually printed copy in my hands. Now I may not fork out the $10 for this particular article given that I'm currently not working on Cretaceous sauropods, but if I were I would think that $10 is worth a good hard copy of a 51 page monograph (assuming this is post paid and the quality is good).

Anyhow, kudos to PLOS ONE (and the authors) for recognizing the need to adhere to the current ICZN rules and being so quick to sort out the problem and go above and beyond in solving it. This clearly demonstrates one of the reasons why PLOS ONE is quickly becoming a major player in paleontology publications.

REFERENCE

Hocknull, S.A., White, M.A., Tischler, T.R., Cook, A.G., Calleja, N.D., Sloan, T., and D.A. Elliott. 2009. New Mid-Cretaceous (Latest Albian) Dinosaurs from Winton, Queensland, Australia. PLoS ONE 4: e6190. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006190

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