A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2017 Feb 5, 12:58 -0800
Andres, you wrote:
"peer review is harder here"
Probably not. If Robin had published here, the article would have been accepted for NavList publication immediately. But that's a literal interpretation of peer review. Next, we move on to decide whether it has merit.
So is it correct? I don't know yet. Peer review doesn't imply correctness. I have read Robin Stuart's work before, and he is quite competent in mathematics. I am confident it has some mathematical truthiness to it! So I lean towards the circle on the playing board that reads "correct". But I have not contemplated it deeply enough to decide one way or another. For now, I am an agnostic ...to quote an old sage, "Ask Again Later". As for practical merit, that will probably be limited to some narrow cases in traditional navigation and possibly some more general cases in automated systems. But above all, this analysis disposes of some tangled discussions in this topic over the past ten years. Its principal merit lies there -- it allows us to sweep away a whole web of prior discussions.
Speaking of peer review, this is a system that is widely regarded as inadequate if not broken, and it is certainly not the best way to evaluate science. The peer review process is a "gatekeeper" but a blunt one. I read an interesting article in Physics Today last month discussing some innovations in peer review, especially focused on a journal called eLife which has adopted a new system that is both more fair and more efficient, in the author's view. And the key element of that system? An online message board system, not so very different NavList, where article referees and authors can discuss the issues relating to an article in an open forum before the peer review decision on formal publication is made. Clever, huh? The essay is entitled "A Biology Journal Provides a Lesson in Peer Review" and was penned by Raymond Goldstein, University of Cambridge, UK (Physics Today, Dec. 2016).
I realize you weren't serious in suggesting that NavList was tougher on "peer review", and I was taking you literally here just to continue the discussion. I agree with your implicit sentiment here that Robin Stuart deserves a Bravo! for having his article published. So Bravo! and Three Cheers!
...and now we can get back to the nitty-gritty of deciding whether it's worth anything in the long haul.