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Bright Star Monitor Epoch Photometry Database

NMR's picture
NMR
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Am I right in thinking that over the years many astronomical groups across the world have made their variable star archives available for inclusion in the AAVSO database? That being the case the decision to restrict access to the Bright Star Monitor Epoch Photometry Database just to AAVSO members seems rather hard to defend. "We would like to give universal access to your data but we don't intend this policy to apply to our data!"

BSM epoch photometry database
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HQA
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Hi Martin,

We give free public access to the photometric means database from BSM, through tools like Seqplot.  The individual photometric measures used to create those means are considered a membership benefit, just as AAVSOnet in general is a membership benefit.  Issues like these are great topics of discussion for the governance forum.

Arne

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Aaron Price
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The AAVSO International Database has always been, and always will be, freely available to the entire world. You submit an obs to the AAVSO and you know it will be available to the public forever.

The Bright Star Monitor Epoch Photometry Database is not part of the AAVSO International Database. It is generated by equipment run by HQ and not by observers submitting their data to HQ. It is entirely appropriate, and common, for astronomical campaigns to restrict access to data generated by the campaign to those who supported the campaign.

The Bright Star Monitor Epoch Photometry Database
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NMR
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Clearly all these other organisations that shared data submitted by their members with the AAVSO didn't seek to restrict access to "their" results to members only. They proved this by their actions.

It seems peverse for the AAVSO to refuse to recipocate.

mixing apples and oranges
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Aaron Price
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The AAVSO has the same policy. All data submitted "by our members", to use your own term, is freely available to the entire world. It has been for the past 101 years and, I suspect, will be for the next 101. 

Bright Star Monitor Epoch Photometry Database
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NMR
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I will never understand how HQ's staff reconcile their desire for overseas groups to share their variable star results with the AAVSO with the current refusal of the AAVSO to reciprocate by making the entire Bright Star Monitor Epoch Photometry Database available to the widest possible audience.

The decision to adopt a “what was yours has become everybody’s but what is ours will remain ours” approach seems to me to be entirely harmful to the reputation of the AAVSO.

BSM epoch photometry database
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HQA
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Martin, you are entitled to your opinions, and I respect that.  You are not entitled to make decisions for the AAVSO.

Comparing the AAVSO International Database with the BSM epoch photometry database is comparing apples to oranges.  Observers contribute measurements to us because by doing so, their measurements get used by multiple researchers in the professional and amateur communities.  We give them as much credit as possible, marking each estimate with the name of the observer and any group affiliation they might desire.  We acknowledge their observations everywhere we can, and award them with incremental observer awards.  We highlight contributing organizations in our Annual Report. We recommend to professionals that they include those observers making major contributions as co-authors on their papers.  This effort reflects a significant investment on the part of the AAVSO.

Surveys are treated differently.  We do not include CRTS, or ASAS, or SuperWASP, or (name your survey) in the AID.  The hope is that we can eventually link to these surveys to include their data in things like the Light Curve Generator, but we want their datasets to remain separate, so that they can maintain them and decide for themselves how much of their database to make public.  Each survey spends an enormous amount of money and manpower to operate; they should have the right to decide for themselves what access they will provide.

The BSM epoch photometry database as it stands today is an interim product.  It only contains about half of the total observations that have been made by BSM-north; it does not include any of the observations from BSM-south.  It contains observations made specifically for AAVSO members for their research. The database format may change; the web interface almost certainly will change. It makes perfect sense to me to give early access to this database to our members, who have contributed the funding for the telescope and the computers, as well as contributing their time and effort in keeping things running.  In this manner, the database can be utilized by AAVSO researchers external to HQ, even while the remaining logistical questions get addressed.  I hope some good papers based on BSM photometry get submitted to JAAVSO!  I fully expect that sometime in the future we will make this database public, but until then, AAVSO members get priority.

Arne

BSM epoch photometry database
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NMR
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I'm sure colleagues at HQ wouldn't do deliberately do something that might do harm to the reputation of AAVSO. But with respect I would suggest that both you, and them, are far, far too close to the decision to appreciate the unfortunate impression the current situation will create in non-members.

I expect many of us in our professional lives have worked with colleagues who take far more than they give. Colleagues who expect vast quantities of loyalty and committment from us towards their pet projects but who are conspicuous by their absence when the roles are reversed. I think this database could have been a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate appreciation, good-will and share-and-share-alike with the wider astronomical community.

As one of the few non-members who post to this forum I expect to be in the minority on this. But of course it isn't the readers here you need to convince. It is the officers and members of overseas groups who might well consider a "once bitten, twice shy" approach in all future dealings with the AAVSO.

I urge you to reconsider.    

Martin: Have you talked to
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WI
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Martin: Have you talked to any of these leaders of other organizations who you assume are so mortally offended? Why not let the people who have been harmed, as you claim, speak for themselves.


There is a complete difference between variable star observations made by the members of VSO organizations, including the AAVSO, which are archived in the AID and freely available to anyone in the world, and the work product of a survey instrument operated by one of those organizations. Especially when the survey has not been completed, and when everyone understands that at some point in the future, all the data will be freely available.

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bjs
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Martin,

Pony up a $1000 donation to support BSM (or more) as several AAVSO members did to help get the system going.  You can probably get access then.  Or try supporting the organization by paying dues.  You'll get access.

Until then....

Bright Star Monitor Epoch Photometry Database
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NMR
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As I have already said it isn’t the views of current AAVSO members that will determine the harm done to the AAVSO by this decision.

Neither is it the views of the short term custodians of these third-party sets of variable star results that have been made available to you – except in as far as these same individuals might have contributed a minute percentage of the shared data.

No, it is the massively larger number of individual observers – the famous “court of public opinion” – that are singularly unimpressed both that their results were shipped off to the AAVSO without so much as a by-your-leave by the aforementioned custodians and that the AAVSO gobbled them up without any meaningful reciprocating gesture.

ad infinitum
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Aaron Price
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Martin, you are now just ignoring the replies and comments others are posting to you. Time to move on...

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