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British research in to ufos.
UFO research is called ufology. Those who research UFOs are termed Ufologists. The British UFO Research Association or BUFORA is a British company registered as "BUFORA Ltd" and co-ordinated by a board of directors selected from its membership. BUFORA was established in 1964 from a coalition of British UFO societies, and since that date it has undertaken the role of co-ordinating British UFO research and investigation on a national basis. BUFORA's current president is the Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe, while Robert Rosamond is the association's chairman.
History and current status of UFO research.
From 1964 until 2004 BUFORA was an open membership body, as other similar organisations (such as America's MUFON) remain to this day. However, due to a contraction of interest in ufology in the UK and elsewhere, the association is currently going through a major restructuring in order to adapt to changing circumstances. In particular, BUFORA is increasingly becoming a web-based resource.
The present period of relative inactivity contrasts with the heyday of ufology when BUFORA was central to the British UFO scene. BUFORA was responsible for organising many large UFO conferences, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s. Throughout its existence BUFORA has published a variety of publications, including the BUFORA BULLETIN (an A5-format journal of record) and UFO TIMES (a glossy A4-format magazine). From the late 1970s up to the late 80s BUFORA also produced the Journal of Transient Aerial Phenomena (JTAP). In 2005 BUFORA suspended publication of the BUFORA BULLETIN and focused on presenting articles and sighting-accounts on its website.
Research and Investigation into UFOs.
BUFORA has always aimed to play a major role in co-ordinating the investigation of UFO sightings within the British Isles. Between 1984 and 1996 the association's Director of Investigations was Jenny Randles, who was one of Britain's few "professional" ufologists (i.e. she was a professional author who specialised in writing books on the subject of UFOs, often based on her own investigations). Since the mid-1980s, following an initiative instigated by Jenny Randles, BUFORA members who wish to investigate UFO sightings on behalf of the association must pass a basic exam, to demonstrate an understanding of IFO (identified flying object) stimuli and other factors necessary for the objective assessment of UFO claims. Because of the requirements to pass this exam, BUFORA investigators are known as Accredited Investigators, a term often abbreviated to "A.I". Up to the late 1990s, the most senior BUFORA investigator within a given region of the UK would be designated as a Regional Investigation Co-ordinator or RIC, responsible for co-ordinating UFO investigation on a local level - although this approach has now been superseded by the A.I system.
BUFORA has been involved in a number of notable research projects - ranging from BOLIDE (Ball Of Light Information Data Exchange) to the "UFO Origins" initiative. Among the most significant projects undertaken by BUFORA is an attempt to transfer the association's considerable archive of sighting-account material into a more readily available multimedia format, in order to preserve this potentially valuable information for future generations. In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1984, all confidential data such as witnesses' names are being removed from the public version.
Controversies about UFO research.
BUFORA has no "official" viewpoint as to the origin and nature of UFOs, other than to support the responsible investigation and research of these phenomena. However, many of the people choosing to join BUFORA, and those choosing to take an active role within it, have tended to be vocal proponents of the extraterrestrial hypothesis for the origin of UFOs.
Over the years BUFORA has been associated with a number of controversies, which have had the effect of diminishing its alleged impartiality and its standing within the British UFO community. These include the removal of Jenny Randles as its Director of Investigations in the mid-1990s, along with BUFORA's initially enthusiastic endorsement of Ray Santilli's alien autopsy film, which has since been revealed to have been a fake.
In the late 1990s the support given by various BUFORA council members to Maxwell Burns' controversial interpretation of the Howden Moor Incident resulted in what some have termed "the Tornado Wars", culminating in the resignation of BUFORA's press secretary, Dr. David Clarke, and its newsletter editor, Robert Moore. It is considered by some that BUFORA's current decline can be traced to this incident, although other issues are undoubtedly involved (such as the personality clashes that have plagued the association throughout its existence). The current board of directors are hopeful that the current restructuring will address many past criticisms and better equip the association to carry out its core objectives.
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