Re:JBAA papers

Home Forums General Discussion JBAA papers Re:JBAA papers


Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 23:25 on 2012 Aug 01

Well! Just as things seemed to be going quiet everything has kicked off again – and in a rather dramatic direction! I shall respond to Richard Miles in a separate post (as his contribution is clearly of a different sort), but here’s a few thoughts on Paul Abel’s comments.Firstly, as with previous comments, I thank Paul for taking an interest. Good to know that the topic has attracted several of the Association’s more well-known "personalities"! I would still be interested in comments from the silent majority, but perhaps the absence of same means most people simply haven’t involved themselves in the papers submission process, which may account for the lack of new faces in the Journal authors list. Again, I’m glad Paul has had good experiences but, once more, this perhaps makes me feel piqued that I didn’t!Paul mentions two of his recent papers. In the case of his submission concerning the Alvan Clark refractor (Vol 121 No.2), his own assessment is indeed spot on – it is an account of his own experiences (and not a scientific paper!). He says it depends on objective facts, and that is clearly true, but he did not have to carry out research to determine these and they do not require data analysis to interpret neither do they lead to any new conclusions. Rather than being a scientific paper, the submission is thus just a well-written and very interesting journalistic article [and I here use "just" in a descriptive rather than pejorative sense!]. It is none the worse for being such, of course, and still fully deserves to be published, but not in the papers section of the Journal.His second-mentioned paper, on Uranus, (Vol 121 No.4) is an interesting one, as it is a bit of a hybrid. The first section, on the history of observations, would fall into what I have categorised as "Historical, Bibliography and General Review" papers which, according to the strict rules of definition, do not qualify as scientific papers. The second part, on observing Uranus, seems to me to be no different from the recent JBAA articles on "Observing Basics" so should surely have been published as part of this series rather than being appended to the historical review.Finally, I would agree with Paul that the mix of articles in the Journal is a good one but the desire for a mixture of articles should not be allowed to influence (or even determine) the selection criteria applied to Journal papers.Steve Holmes