Adoption of Scientific Nomenclature in Associated Press Style sign now

We, as writers of scientific, botanical and horticultural articles, hereby implore the Associated Press to adopt the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) and the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP) as their standard when using scientific and botanical names in stories.

The current AP style rules are confusing and do not cover many of the marks that make distinctions between, for example, hybridized vs. natural cultivars vs. varieties, all having distinct marks in the ICBN and ICNCP.

By adopting the ICBN and ICNCP you will give scientific writers a message that you respect their knowledge and education and that you respect its source documents. The intent of those documents is consistency in the naming of and reference to botanical names in writing, just as your intent is consistency in journalistic writing. The two intents could not be more closely related, and should be combined.

As the leading style guide in the writer's world, we feel that by adopting these documents you are distinguishing yourself as a friend to scientists, botanists, and horticulturists around the globe. With the current environmental and ecological issues bringing more scientific study to the forefront, it would be helpful to be seen as an organization who respects those researchers and writers.

We thank you for your consideration in this matter, and hope you will accept this petition in the spirit in which it is intended.

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Elvira ClayBy:
Entertainment and MediaIn:
Petition target:
Associated Press Style Committee


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