You know, I never was sure what Bothans were but I was pretty sure that they were annoying critters who weren't much missed.
The term "Bothans" you refer to is actually a bastardization of the word "Boffins" which were a group of scientists and techs utilized by our good friends the British during WWII.
They did all sorts of secret mods to things to help foil the Germans. (Radar mods, the skip-bombing dam busters, and things of that order.)
The best fictional example of "Boffins" are "Q's" boys in the James Bond films.