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June 1985

In Defense of Robust Reviewing

Arch Dermatol. 1985;121(6):713. doi:10.1001/archderm.1985.01660060025003

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Editor's Response.—  The above correspondence focuses on a major problem in the review of textbooks and monographs in dermatology. Ours is a small specialty. Often those best qualified to review a book are personal acquaintances or even close friends of its author(s). The reviewer's unwillingness to convert a friend to an enemy over an issue of no direct relevance to himself is certainly understandable.Indisputably, a book review should be more than an expanded table of contents, usually already available to the potential reader/buyer from promotional mailings. Ideally, a review should be a critical, impartial assessment from (a) someone widely read in the field, (b) someone with the perspective and the judgment to recognize both major accomplishments and failings, (c) someone with "name recognition," and (d) someone who will complete the task before the book is out of print. As the Archives has come to realize, such an individual is

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