Botanists will soon be able to name new plant species without ever physically printing a paper, as the code governing botanical taxonomy undergoes a major shake-up.
At the ongoing International Botanical Congress (IBC) in Melbourne, Australia, researchers have agreed to drop the requirement for hard copies of papers describing new species. Also vanishing from the code is a requirement that species must come with a Latin description.
Although the amendments voted through today by the IBC's nomenclature section will have to be ratified by the full congress on 30 July, this is expected to be a formality. The changes are likely to come into effect from 1 January next year, when the new International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) is likely to come into force.