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Old 08 September 2018, 05:46 PM
Ellestar Ellestar is offline
Join Date: 31 July 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,819

Fact checking would be an onerous process for someone just brought in to peer-review, though. I assume it would involve going to the same sources cited in the book and reading all the the same resources and coming to the same conclusion. Basically, fact-checking would be essentially redoing all the work of the original authors.

I think peer review in the humanities would be the same or similar to peer review in the sciences. You get someone in the same or similar field to read the presented research to determine if they are citing the correct people, using accepted methodologies, and getting what appears to be valid results. In the sciences, we don't expect peer reviewers to replicate the experiments themselves to get the same results; they use their own expertise to see if it, basically, makes sense to run the experiment as they have and that the findings fall in line with what is already known.

It seems with this, as the article says, the peer-review process failed. It's probably that there were no true "peers" (Victorian-era historians familiar with medical cures for hysteria?) to faithfully review the text. Further, it sounds as though there was some pressure to publish because this looked like a book that would sell, which I'm sure is kind of rare for academic publishing.
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