JBAA Letters section (2)

Forums General Discussion JBAA Letters section (2) JBAA Letters section (2)

Steve Holmes

In reply to Grant, this is not the first time I have been advised to stand for Council! While superficially a good idea, the suggestion does have a host of practical problems standing in the way of actually getting anything done:-

1) While I may be able to get nominated, getting elected would be quite another matter. That small percentage of the Association who actually vote would no doubt tend to prefer a “famous name” who they know has done good work in the past rather than an unknown who is essentially standing on a single issue.

2) Even if by some miracle I were to get elected, I would then have to get the issues of interest on the Agenda, have them debated, and win any subsequent vote. At the last count, there were 36 members of Council so I would need to persuade another 18 of them to agree with me – a difficult task, I fear!

3) The next Council elections are not until October 2017, so the earliest that this matter could be debated would be at least a year away – not really what I was looking for.

Writing a paper is also problematic. The most obvious objection is the one I have already made in the original version of this thread – the time delay. And of course the acceptance of a paper is subject to the same sort of editorial whim that I am commenting on! (as I became very aware of when I submitted a paper of my own some years ago). Also, before one can “correct the error” one has to know that an error has been committed. A simple factual error may be obvious (but is a paper the best way to correct it?) but if there is a possible error of analysis (as I suggested in the case of the eclipse-contact paper) then one would have to have access to the original data to determine this if one is not allowed to submit a comment like the one I had rejected. Starting a thread has (as previously mentioned by me) the objection that only BAA members are likely to see it, and – most importantly – any conclusions reached. The whole point of peer review is that corrections to papers are published in the same Journal as the original paper – would the Editorial team agree to this, one wonders?

Finally, I am not suggesting that anything and everything is published. There must clearly still be a degree of control to avoid the mis-use alluded to by Grant, but this must be strictly editorial: concepts such as “of interest to the Editor” have no place in a learned journal.