imageHe writes by way of a comment to When it Comes to the Shroud of Turin, Has Peer Review Lost its Luster?, a prior posting in this blog:

As I write as a historian for two university presses (OUP and Yale University Press), I am always subject to peer review, on my proposals themselves, on my drafts and on my final versions. I am also asked to comment, as probably one of three ‘reviewers’, on proposals sent in. In the vast majority of cases I see the peer reviews on my own work although they remain strictly anonymous and often i am able to clear up points reviewers have disagreed with to the satisfaction of my editor (who makes the final decision on publication as with most academic journals). It is a system that works well.

I am not a scientist but there does seem to be a genuine problem, accepted by many contributors to this site, relating to the provenance of samples from the Shroud. I leave it to others to comment but I am always amazed that Ray Rogers’ work on the 1988 samples is described as ‘peer-reviewed’ when he fails to provide any supporting evidence that the fibres he used were genuinely those cut off by Gonella. He suggests that they have not come to him directly so there is every possibility that they might not be the originals or have been contaminated on the way. There is even talk on this site of an intermediary who passed on materials. So who are the ‘peers’ who considered Rogers’ paper acceptable? Was he able to provide them with further evidence he chose not to publish publicly that convinced them of the authenticity of his fibres?

On a separate note, it would seem important to know where these fibres are now, following Rogers’ death. Who actually owns them? Is anyone authorised to pass them on to an independent laboratory specialising in textiles to see if Rogers’ findings might be replicated?