Call to register new species in ZooBank

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We wish to clarify a few points in your discussion of the decision by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) to allow naming of new species in electronic-only publications (Nature 489, 178; 2012).

The amendment is already in force, retroactive to 1 January 2012 (see, for example, Bull. Zool. Nomenclature 69, 161–169; 2012; available at It remains to be seen which electronic publication will first satisfy the requirements of the amendment. The ICZN official registry, ZooBank, did not support all the requirements until the beginning of September, when the commissioners' votes became official.

New animal species will not need to be registered in ZooBank. It is the electronic works themselves that must be registered to count as published for nomenclatural purposes. In the amendment, registration of new names is a recommendation, not a requirement. We encourage zoologists to comply with this recommendation, which will aid in automated indexing, linking and data extraction.

The amendment allows the ICZN to issue declarations clarifying whether new methods of production, distribution, formatting or archiving can be used to publish works that comply with the requirements of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. This, coupled with the error-checking capabilities in ZooBank, will enable the code to evolve rapidly and help authors to fulfil the new requirements.

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Correspondence to Gary Rosenberg.

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Rosenberg, G., Krell, F. & Pyle, R. Call to register new species in ZooBank. Nature 491, 40 (2012) doi:10.1038/491040b

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