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Scholarly Articles: How can I tell?

In this guide, you will learn about the different parts of a scholarly journal article and what makes it different from a non-academic article.

What is peer review?

Peer review refers to the process where researchers submit a paper they have written to a journal. The journal editor then sends the article to the author's peers (researchers and scholars) who are in the same discipline for review. The reviewers determine if the article should be published based on the quality of the research, including the validity of the data, the conclusions the authors' draw and the originality of the research. This process is important because it validates the research and gives it a sort of "seal of approval" from others in the research community.

Identifying if a Journal is Peer-Reviewed

If you have a print edition of a journal, you can often determine if the journal is peer-reviewed. Print journals usually contain instructions for authors, including the journal's peer review policy, inside the front or back covers or in a page near the end of the issue.

However, one of the best places to find out if a journal is peer-reviewed is to go to the journal website. Most publishers have a website for a journal that tells you about the journal, how authors can submit an article, and what the process is for getting published.

On the journal website, look for the link that says information for authors, instructions for authors, submitting an article or something similar.

screenshot of a peer-reviewed article


Using the Database to Identify a Peer-Reviewed Journal

Another place to find out if the journal is peer-reviewed is to use one of the online databases.

For example, if you know that articles from your journal appear in the Academic Search Premier database, you can search for the journal in the database and learn more about it.

Go to Academic Search Premier and click on Publications at the top of the screen.

screenshot of ebsco host search engine


Enter the name of the journal and click browse. If the journal is included in the database, you will see it in the list of results.

screenshot of a search query in ebscohost

This will take you to the journal information. At the bottom, you can see that this journal is peer-reviewed.

screenshot of ebscohost search query results

Academic Search Premiere does not include all journals so the one you are looking for may not be listed here. You can also try AcademicOneFile and browse for the publication.


Identifying if a Journal is Peer-Reviewed with Ulrichsweb

Another way to determine a journal's peer review status is with Ulrichsweb, which uses the term "refereed". Most larger public and academic libraries have access. Members of the OSU community can access Ulrichsweb using the link below.