Now I've come across an explanation. William Hamblin has discussed peer review in his blog on Patheos here.
He starts out with a good definition/explanation:
But then he gets defensive about Jenkins' criticism and, IMO, loses sight of the purpose of peer review:
There are several problems with Hamblin's analysis. First, he already admitted that some Mesoamericanists have read the Book of Mormon. Second, the only "scholarly literature on the topic" is that which Hamblin accepts; i.e., what he refers to as "classic FARMS." Third, the only "publication track record" is also "classic FARMS." So Hamblin would only accept peer reviews by those who have published in FARMS--which is exactly what happens!
His analogy to a paper on Dante's Divine Comedy is revealing. The "know Italian" requirement is equivalent to "know English" for the Book of Mormon, a criterion most scholars can satisfy. A prospective peer reviewer of the Dante paper would be highly qualified if that reviewer was expert in classical literature and the historical allusions Dante uses, even if he/she were not an expert on the Divine Comedy. So why couldn't a Mesoamericanist do a peer review of a paper claiming connections between the Book of Mormon and Mesoamerica? Such an expert would be effective in assessing whether the paper's claimed links are valid in the context of what is known about Mesoamerica.
But of course, there are no Mesoamericanists (other than LDS) who agree that anything in Mesoamerica lines up with or supports the Book of Mormon claims.
Paradoxically, the only journals in the field of ancient Book of Mormon studies which actually do authentic and rigorous peer review were published by classic FARMS: The Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, the Review of Books on the Book of Mormon. To them can now be added Interpreter. I know this because I have occasionally served as editor and peer reviewer for those publications. They use precisely the same process used by any other academic journal.
I don't characterize this as a paradox, nor do I characterize the peer review in these journals as "authentic and rigorous." As I've shown in every article I've peer reviewed myself, these journals are incestuous and engage primarily in confirmation bias. They resist alternative viewpoints, even when offered by believers in the Book of Mormon. They overlook logical and factual errors. They focus exclusively on linking the Book of Mormon to Mesoamerica. So I have to agree with Jenkins' approach, to the extent he is referring to Mesoamerica:
However, Jenkins makes a major blunder, which I'll address in my next post.