Ida fossil affair shows folly of "peer review" fetish
And the Ida fossil affair shows that the pre-publication "peer review" standard of quality isn't all that it is cracked up to be. A TimesOnline article says,
Now that the scientific details of Darwinius masillae are available for scrutiny by those who weren't given privileged advance access, some doubts are emerging. Not about the significance of the fossil per se -- it is a magnificent specimen and important -- but about the interpretation placed on it by the analysis team, and the hype that has surrounded the announcement.
. . . a popular book, a documentary, a website and an exhibition have been launched on the back of this find, before it has received full scientific scrutiny.
. . . You have to wonder, as did Karen James in a comment on my post yesterday, whether this research was deliberately rushed, and submitted to a journal (PLoS ONE) with a less rigorous pre-publication review system than Nature or Science, to fit with the media schedule.
It is probable that the pre-publication reviewers of the Ida fossil article were not even specialists in primates or primate evolution.
Even Sleazy PZ Myers and Fatheaded Ed Brayton have complained about the ID fossil hype. [link] [link] So is pre-publication peer review any guarantee of quality? Definitely no.
Also, the whole idea of the pre-publication peer-review standard is pointless, because many publications receive a lot of peer review after publication. It is ridiculous, for example, to say that Michael Behe's publications have not been peer-reviewed just because the peer review was post-publication rather than pre-publication. Behe's ideas have actually received far more "peer review" than most ideas in science.