[WikiEN-l] Re: So much for books as reliable references!

Michael Snow wikipedia at earthlink.net
Fri Feb 3 02:22:11 UTC 2006

Delirium wrote:

> 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.

--Michael Snow

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