This letter is written in response to comments posted by Dr. Susan Haseltine, Assistant Director of Biology, U.S. Geological Survey. Dr. Haseltine wrote to address charges of poor and improper peer review of the USGS report on giant constrictors. This report was written by USGS biologists, Robert Reed and Gordon Rodda, and published as an Open File Report by the USGS in December 2009. We make the following observations.
Dr. Haseltine wrote that she was responding to “a press release issued by a reptile-trade organization and an accompanying letter by a group of veterinarians and other scientists”. That by itself sounds a little dismissive; in particular, we’d like to point out that the “group of veterinarians” are DVMs and also PhDs, as well as tenured professors. The letter makes a valid point and it is signed by an accomplished and respected group of scientists.
Dr. Haseltine wrote: “The USGS provides unbiased, objective scientific information upon which other entities many base judgments.” She then describes the minimum requirements of the USGS review process, including a minimum of two reviews, and an assessment of the authors’ responses to the reviews to be performed by both research managers and independent scientists within the USGS.
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