Thursday, 15 May 2014

“When people don't stand up for what they think is right, they die one piece at a time.”

This is an email I wrote to the editor of the Astronomical Journal


William I. Hartkopf et al. 2013. The Astronomical Journal 146 76

Many of the common proper motion pairs identified in this paper as new discoveries were identified and published by me as long ago as 2009. At that time my results were also sent – in the form of a spreadsheet – to both Zacharias and Finch and they both, independently, confirmed receipt.

1- The issue is simple. Did the staff at the USNO use the astronomical results I had shared with them in October 2009 without proper, indeed any, acknowledgement? Secondly why did the superintendent of the Observatory then fail to respond to my two letters on the matter?

2 - That many of my results are identical to those subsequently published as their own by USNO staff
is both beyond dispute and easily proven. Both my results and the USNO results are in the public domain and the numerous similarities are plain at a glance.

3 - That the USNO staff had prior knowledge of my results is also beyond dispute and easily proven. I have copies of their emails in which they confirm receipt. 

4 - This is the second time I have had this problem with USNO staff. I have in front of me an apologetic letter, dated January 2011, from R S Steadley, at that time Superintendent of the US Naval
Observatory, in respect of a similar problem that also involved third parties being given credit for my peer reviewed discoveries.

"Papers published in the AJ and ApJ should include citations to previously published papers which are directly relevant to the results being presented. This requirement is especially important when new ideas or results are being presented. Deliberate refusal to credit or cite prior or corroborating results, while not regarded technically as constituting plagiarism, represents a comparable breach of professional ethics, and can result in summary rejection of a manuscript."

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