"Peer-reviewed" (or "refereed," "academic" or "scholarly") refers to the policy of having experts in the field examine a submitted article before accepting it for publication. The peer review (or referee) process insures that the research described in a journal's articles is sound and of high quality.
Identifying peer-reviewed journals
Many databases let you limit your search results to only peer-reviewed journals and articles.
It may not be obvious if a publication is peer-reviewed. Ulrich's Global Serials Directory lists titles with 'refereed' icons or includes peer-reviewed information under the Additional Title Details section.
The following are general criteria used to distinguish between popular magazines, trade journals and scholarly journals.
|Criteria||Scholarly journals||Trade journals||Popular magazines|
|Audience||Researchers, professionals and academics||Members of a specific business, industry or organization||General public|
|References or bibliographies||Bibliographies are always present||May include short bibliographies||Rarely includes bibliographies|
|Editors||Editorial board of outside scholars (known as peer review)||Editors work for publisher||Editors work for publisher|
|Publishers||Often a scholarly or professional organization or a university press||Often a trade organization||Commercial, for profit|
Original research, in-depth studies, literary criticism and theory
|Industry trends, new products or techniques, and organizational news||Personalities, news of current events, and general interest articles|
|Writing style and language||Uses discipline-specific terminology that is sophisticated and technical||Uses terminology and language of trade or industry covered||
Easy to read, simple language
|Advertisements (print version)||Few or none
(usually for books or conferences)
(all or most are trade-related)
(for consumer products)
Portions of this content was adapted from Colorado State University Library and Odum Library, Valdosta State University.