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Why join?

Our Code of Conduct

Taxonomy Australia is committed to providing a safe, hospitable, and productive environment for all taxonomists and supporters of taxonomy in Australia. A community where people feel bullied, harassed or threatened is neither healthy nor productive.

Taxonomy Australia also promotes high-quality science based on professional standards of conduct and ethics. Science based on poor conduct is likely to be poor science.


Accordingly, Taxonomy Australia will not tolerate intimidating, threatening, or harassing conduct from registered users of the Taxonomy Australia website or participants at Taxonomy Australia events, workshops, seminars and other forums. Nor will it tolerate conduct that breaches community norms and standards in taxonomy or ancillary sciences.

The Taxonomy Australia Steering Committee reserves the right to de-register, remove, restrict or preclude registration of people who have breached this Code of Conduct.

​If you are subject to or become aware of behaviour that breaches this Code of Conduct, please contact Taxonomy Australia using the Contact link at the bottom of this page.

Our Position on Taxonomic Vandalism

In addition to the Code of Conduct above, Taxonomy Australia has adopted a Common Position Statement on Taxonomic Vandalism, as follows:

Common Position Statement on Taxonomic Vandalism

The following Position Statement was adopted by Taxonomy Australia on 30 July 2021 by vote of members of the Steering Committee.

Taxonomy Australia adopts the following position:

  1. A sound, robust and scientifically justifiable taxonomy, and a sound, rigorous and agreed nomenclature based on that taxonomy, are important underpinnings to our organisation and the science that we support.

  2. Application of agreed norms of science is particularly important for taxonomy and its resultant nomenclature, because the International Codes of Nomenclature make no distinction between published names based on sound, robust science and those not so based.

  3. While it is recognised that in the great majority of cases the conditions for a vibrant, healthy and productive science of taxonomy and its ensuing nomenclature are met, there are rare cases where important norms are deliberately and persistently broken, a pattern of behaviour dubbed ‘taxonomic vandalism’

  4. Taxonomic vandalism is characterised by some or all of the following:

    1. naming of taxa in the absence of primary evidence of their taxonomic merit;

    2. fabrication of evidence including diagnoses and descriptions;

    3. lack of due diligence in assigning and citing type and other specimens, including citation of specimens that are readily available but neither studied nor seen;

    4. harvesting and naming clades from published phylogenies without notification or collaboration with the relevant authors or experts on the group in question;

    5. plagiarism and wholesale, unattributed copying of text from source papers; and

    6. inappropriate content, including polemical personal attacks on others, in taxonomic works.

    7. ​In addition, and because of the general unacceptability of these practices, those who practice taxonomic vandalism generally publish without (or without adequate) peer review, often in self-published ‘journals’ established specifically to carry their own publications.

  5. Taxonomy Australia regards that taxonomic vandalism fundamentally weakens the science we support.

  6. Given this, we strongly support members of our community who publish names in a manner that conforms with taxonomic best practice, even if in some cases these are junior synonyms of names resulting from taxonomic vandalism, and use names so published, even if those names are junior synonyms.

  7. Taxonomy Australia understands that adoption of this Position Statement may lead to a situation where some names in use do not have priority under the International Code of Zoological of Nomenclature. We are willing to accept this situation in support of our members and colleagues who do practice rigorous and robust science, and to limit the damage to taxonomy, nomenclature and biodiversity science caused by taxonomic vandalism.

  8. Taxonomy Australia calls upon the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature to do everything in its power to deal with taxonomic vandalism, including finding appropriate solutions, supported by the taxonomic community, to the problem of dual nomenclature caused by our determination to use junior synonyms in these cases.

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