The definition of peer review

@evograd did an amazing job with his review of Jeanson’s book. However, I would hesitate to call anyone’s blog, regardless how well written or well supported, equivalent to being “peer reviewed”.

We peer reviewed it before publication @Herman_Mays. It is not a peer reviewed publication venue, and it was not blind peer review, but it was peer reviewed.

I also consulted with @evograd on his review. Not every collaboration is equivalent of the same sort of peer review that say journal articles would receive

It is far better peer review than Jeanson’s book recieved. Keep this in perspective.

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You may never have received any slipshod peer reviews, but I sure have.


Touche. I’m just trying to put things into some perspective.

I’m inclined agree with Herman here. I think it’s better to keep the term “peer review” exclusive to the formal process involved in proper academic publishing.
I’m no fan of organisations like AiG using the term liberally to cover “some of my colleagues had a look at it”, so to be consistent I’d rather we avoid the equivocation too.

Simply saying I had my more technical blog posts reviewed by several experienced PhD scientists, including some in or close to the relevant subject, should be sufficient.


I’d say, without equivocation or doubt, that your blog was reviewed by your scientific peers in an informal and unblinded exchange. That is review by your peers, but it is not formal, blinded peer-review.

Even formal peer review fails at times (often?), and un peer-reviewed papers can have significant and legitimate impact too.

Though, in this case, whether some thing is peer-reviewed or not is usually a distraction from whether or not its ideas are correct and worth engaging.

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Borrowing from Churchill, peer review is the worst process for publishing scientific papers, except for all the others. I’m preaching to the choir here, but for those who are not familiar with the process . . .

Formal peer review occurs before publication, and the decision to publish is determined by the editors of the journal based on the suggestions from the reviewers, scientific merit, and its relevance to the scope of the journal. A scientist is judged by the quantity and quality of the papers they publish, so its a pretty big deal. Blogs . . . not so much. Publishing mainstream books does improve a CV, but may not carry as much weight in a traditional research grant application. Integrity is an important part of the peer review process because publications are an important part of a scientist’s career.

The main takeaway is whether or not the author’s work has been checked, and if the author is willing to remove or change the work if others find problems with it. One can adhere to the spirit of peer review by taking criticism seriously and striving to remove as many errors as possible.