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Re: Martin 2004 critique

Scott Hartman wrote:

See, I think this IS a failure. Science is not about being "even-handed". It's not like all "political viewpoints" need to be heard in the interst of "fairness". That's the domain of Newsweek and Time, not Nature or AZS. Peer review should weed out papers that contain obvious factual errors, and the Martin paper does. It should never have seen the light of print, and the fact that another paper with an opposing viewpoint was in the same issue in no way excuses this oversight.

I agree. But I do not believe the "system" failed, because in this instance I think there was NO system in place. I suspect (but I don't actually *know*) that Martin was invited to write a piece for AZS, and so the normal rules of engagement were suspended. In other words: no peer review. This same problem also occurred with the Czerkas's "Dinosaur Museum Journal", for different reasons (= self-publication). This emphasizes the importance of peer review, which is an integral component of scientific publication. Peer review isn't perfect: reviewers can get it wong, and mistakes do get through to the final version. But peer review is the first line of defense against the publication of "tripe" (to borrow Scott's term).

BTW, _Nature_ does require that even authors who are invited to write a paper for the journal will have their paper exposed to peer review.