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What is peer review? What is a peer-reviewed journal?
Scholarly, academic, and peer-reviewed journals
- Articles are written by and for faculty, researchers or scholars (chemists, historians, doctors, artists, etc.)
- Use scholarly or technical language
- Articles tend to be long and detailed, about research in a particular academic discipline
- Include full citations for sources
- Are often refereed or peer-reviewed
- Include information about the authors
- Are published by academic organizations
- Note: book reviews and editorials are not considered scholarly articles, even when found in scholarly journals
Scholarly journals usually have simple covers, clearly stating basic information like title, volume/issue numbers, and the name of the organization or university responsible for their publication.
Peer-reviewed (or refereed) journals
Peer-reviewed or refereed journals have an editorial board of subject experts who review and evaluate submitted articles before accepting them for publication. A journal may be a scholarly journal but not a peer-reviewed journal.
Peer review (or referee) process
- An editorial board asks subject experts to review and evaluate submitted articles before accepting them for publication in a scholarly journal.
- Submissions are evaluated using criteria including the excellence, novelty and significance of the research or ideas.
- Scholarly journals use this process to protect and maintain the quality of material they publish.
- Members of the editorial board are listed near the beginning of each journal issue.
How to tell if a journal is peer-reviewed
- If you are searching for scholarly or peer-reviewed articles in a database, you may be able to limit your results to peer-reviewed articles.
- If you're looking at the journal itself, search for references to their peer-review process, such as in an editorial statement, or a section with instructions to authors.
Much of this guide has been adapted from pages developed by the University of Arizona Libraries and Simon Fraser University Library.
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