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Shared Content — Peer Review / Scholarly Sources

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Peer Review Basics

Peer review, also known as the Referee process, happens in all parts of academia. It is especially important in the sciences because the peer reviewed journal article is the primary source of new information and discoveries in the sciences. Peer review has developed over many years as the primary system to make sure accurate, reliable and original research findings are published in the journal literature. The video "Peer Review in 3 Minutes" offers a quick explanation of the peer review process.

Is This Article Peer Reviewed?

First make sure it IS a research article. Not every article in a journal is about research, they can include editorials, book reviews and other types of articles. 

To verify the peer reviewed aspect of a journal several options are available to you:

  • Look for the dates of peer review on the first page of the PDF version of the article. Usually it will have three dates: Reviewed, Accepted, and Published. Those are the stamp of peer review and verify the peer review process. But even if there are only two such dates, say Reviewed and Accepted, that is enough to established that the article has been through peer review. However not every publisher puts these datas on the article's first page. 
  • Go to the journal's home page and check the "About" section. Most peer reviewed journals will include information about their process here.
  • Go to the database Ulrich's Periodicals Directory at your library's website. Search for the journal name and in the Basic Description section look for the Refereed category - it should say "Yes" for a peer reviewed journal.

Scholarly Articles

Features of scholarly articles:

  • Written for experts, not a general audience
  • Published in academic journals
  • Judged by fellow experts in the field through a process called “peer-review”

A peer-reviewed article has been reviewed by experts in the field before publication, to ensure that it meets the standards of the field.

Be aware: an item published in an academic journal will not always be peer-reviewed. Some Academic journals also publish items such as editorials or a note from the editor.