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Re: Ghosts of New Papers Past

Tim Williams writes:
 > > > Feduccia, A. 2009. A colorful Mesozoic menagerie. Trends in
 > > > Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.03.002.
 > > > 
 > > > (Book review of John Long's _Feathered Dinosaurs_.)
 > > 
 > > I take it book reviews are not peer-reviewed...?
 > Asking Feduccia to review this particular book is a bit like asking
 > Rush Limbaugh to review an autobiography of Barack Obama.

Actually, I have REAL problems with this review, and not because
Feduccia disagrees with Long's assumptions.  The problem is that it's
advertised as a review but it's really a rebuttal (or an attempted
rebuttal).  It just isn't doing what it says on the tin.  I know that
Feduccia is not alone in this -- it's distressingly common practice --
but I do wish that people writing book reviews would, you know, REVIEW
THE BOOK.  Tell us what's in it, describe the standard of
illustrations, and so on.  Not give us a half-arsed version of why
they disagree with it.  You want to write a rebuttal, write a

Basically, anyone calling himself a scientist should be capable of
reviewing of a book whose premise he disagrees with, without spending
more than half of the review on a poorly-argued digression.

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <mike@indexdata.com>    http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "No man ought to surrender his own judgment to any mere authority,
         however respectable" - Joseph Priestley