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Nicholson, M. (2009). Rental Scopes and Scientific Credit – a rebuttal. PHILICA.COM Article number 163.

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Rental Scopes and Scientific Credit – a rebuttal

Martin Nicholsonconfirmed user (Independent Researcher)

Published in astro.philica.com

In June 2009 an article was published in sci.astro.amateur that attempted to link the use of rental scopes and scientific credit (and indeed scientific merit). This article has set out to refute the allegations made in this Usenet material.

Article body

Rental Scopes and Scientific Credit - a rebuttal

On 28th June 2009 a short article appeared in the Usenet group sci.astro.amateur. This group is one of the many un-moderated bulletin boards that exist and material that appears here is about as far from peer reviewed publication as it is possible to get. Anonymous postings, as in this case, are by no means uncommon nor are crude attempts at identify theft.

The complete article has been archived at http://wrong-again-john.blogspot.com/ (See the entry for August 2nd 2009) because it possible for Usenet authors to delete their posts at any time.

The most curious feature of the article is that it is very far from clear exactly what point the author is trying to make. No evidence has been provided to show that amateur astronomers using their own facilities have access to different photometry software packages or different variable star sequences than those used by amateurs who have chosen to rent telescopes.

Similarly no proof is offered to support the views expressed via the rhetorical question; "Someone finds an object in outburst, tells the mail lists, the home user sees it on the web, books rental scope time,  gets the results, drops them through some software written by someone else, does nothing else but send them on to some archive, and then that someone wants full credit as a scientific collaborator?"

It is perhaps valid to speculate exactly where Usenet author does stand on the issues in the letter from which he quotes. Specifically on the point that "The professional astronomer should make certain that all the amateur collaborators get full recognition within any published article." Should amateur collaborators not get recognition then?

Later in the sci.astro.article  the author writes; "But what does "collaborator" mean? If he has half a dozen observations out of hundreds from AAVSO or BAA?  If the BAA or AAVSO holdings for the star being published on are mostly or to a large part his work only, that would be a little different." Although the choice of the words "little different" are unfortunate - "totally different" would be more appropriate  - the underpinning principle is sound. If professional astronomers use amateur data then they should acknowledge the fact. Where though does the author's earlier remote access v working in the back garden division come into this debate?

When the title of an article doesn't match the content and when the author is unable to provided any supporting evidence for the points he seeks to make the task of rebuttal is made more simple.

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This Article has not yet been peer-reviewed
This Article was published on 3rd August, 2009 at 10:00:15 and has been viewed 3713 times.

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The full citation for this Article is:
Nicholson, M. (2009). Rental Scopes and Scientific Credit – a rebuttal. PHILICA.COM Article number 163.

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