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    Navigator's Newsletter, and other forums.
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2006 Oct 17, 11:53 +0100

    In Navlist 1428, Latitude by lunar distance, Pet Fogg replied to a
    suggestion from Geoffrey Kolbe
    
    > I hope Frank takes the time to write it up in the "Navigator's
    > Newsletter"
    > or one of the other more formal forums for the discussion of
    > celestial
    > navigation matters.
    
    as follows-
    
    "Just to clarify this, the 'Navigator's Newsletter' is NOT "one of the
    ... more formal forums"
    
    It is not a peer reviewed journal as is, for example, the 'British
    Journal of Navigation'.
    
    To give an idea of how far short the 'Newsletter' falls from being a
    serious forum, over recent times it has hosted an unseemly squabble
    between H Zevering and G Huxtable over matters that should, perhaps,
    never have been accepted as worthy of publication, and which were
    eventually shown to be worthless by the 'British Journal of
    Navigation'.
    
    Incidentally, such is the strength of a forum like this one, where
    pretty-well anything can be trotted out and put on display. This
    NavList is a great place to float an idea, although before being
    accepted as comparable with the work of Marcq St Hilaire it should
    indeed, as Geoffrey has helpfully suggested, be submitted to an
    appropriate peer-reviewed journal."
    
    =========================
    
    There are a few comments to make about that-
    
    To reduce confusion, there's no such thing as the "British Journal of
    Navigation". It's "The Journal of Navigation", of the "Royal Institute
    of Navigation", to be distinguished from "Navigation", its American
    counterpart from the "Institute of Navigation". There is often
    confusion about these similar names.
    
    The Journal of Navigation is indeed a peer-reviewed publication, but
    nevertheless, published a nonsensical article by H.Zevering in its
    January 2006 issue, which has been challenged (and also defended) in
    the latest issue. Peer review may do some good, but it's not
    infallible, and critical comment helps to weed out nonsense. Peer
    review may sometimes do harm, in suppressing anti-establishment views,
    as has happened, in other disciplines, in the past.
    
    The Zevering stuff started with an article in one of the first issues
    of European Journal of Navigation, a new publication, in vol 1 no.3
    (2003). I don't know whether that journal was peer-reviewed. That
    article combined a host of typo errors with many author's errors, to
    make it completely unintelligible.. The typos were corrected later in
    vol 2 no 2, but the author's errors, some of which were later admitted
    in the pages of Navigator's Newsletter, have never been corrected in
    EJN, as far as I know.
    
    Zevering followed up with several articles in Navigator's Newsletter.
    Just then, it was having a bad time, as its editor, Ernest Brown, had
    suddenly died, and Terry Carraway was handling both the administration
    of the Navigation Foundation, and editing (with no prior experience)
    for publication. At that time, the Newsletter was desperate for
    material to full its pages, and Zevering was allowed to virtually
    monopolise it, over many issues. There was certainly no peer-reviewing
    in place!
    
    But Peter Fogg is out of date. A new editor, David Burch, has taken
    over at Navigator's Newsletter, and over the last few issues it has
    been completely transformed and improved. Many will know of David from
    his work at the Starpath school of navigation, and the software that
    has resulted.
    
    He has put in a lot of energy and imagination into the newsletter, and
    attracted contributors many of whom will be well known to nav-l /
    navlist members, such as Bruce Stark (on Lewis & Clark), Geoffrey
    Kolbe, and Jan Kalivoda.
    
    Though I couldn't have said this a couple of years ago, Navigator's
    Newsletter is now a good and lively reason for joining the Foundation
    for promotion of the art of Navigation. Its website address is-
    
    www.navigationfoundation.org
    postal address PO Box 1126, Rockville, Maryland 20850, USA.
    You can phone or fax to 301-622-6448.
    
    ===================
    
    Continuing fro Peter's comments about this forum:-
    I think the great strength of navlist and similar lists is that of
    immediacy, getting close to live debate. So an idea can be batted to
    and fro, pulled apart, put together again, in a way that would take
    years in the course of ordinary journal publication. For example, by
    the time Journal of Navigation appears, its next issue, to appear four
    months later, has very nearly been put to bed already, so any argument
    takes place with glacial slowness.
    
    The other strength is that we are a community who have got to know
    each other rather well, our individual strengths and weakness and
    eccentricities, and we can argue, without too much constraint, and
    without too much offense being taken. Long may that mutual tolerance
    continue.
    
    George.
    
    contact George Huxtable at george@huxtable.u-net.com
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.
    
    
    
    
    
    
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