Stan Shebs wrote:
Actually, it's sort of interesting that this
is news. While it's
common practice to have peer review for scholarly books, the "peer"
part of the term should be a hint that it's not the publisher doing
the checking! My guess is that our reverence for the printed page
is such that we just assume no one would dare to print without
being certain of its correctness.
In many fields the peer-review of even scholarly books is not all that
high. In the sciences, journal articles hold much more weight than
books, because there's a perception that anybody can get a book published.
I'm not so sure that the peer review of journal articles is necessarily
that much better. I recently dealt with a situation in which the
submitter of an article was able to specifically request that his
article not be forwarded to one of the logical candidates for
peer-reviewing it, because he anticipated that this person would give an
unfavorable review. Cherry-picking your reviews hardly counts as
rigorous scholarship in my book.
The theory of peer review is nice, but even in academia the execution is
often shoddy and politically skewed. Practices at different journals
vary, of course, so the reputation of the journal needs to be considered
beyond just the question of whether it qualifies as peer-reviewed.