Description and purpose
Many scholarly journals use a process of peer review prior to publishing an article, whereby other scholars in the author’s field or specialty critically assess a draft of the article. Peer-reviewed journals (also called refereed journals) are scholarly journals that only publish articles that have passed through this review process. The review process helps ensure that the published articles reflect solid scholarship in their fields.
Peer-reviewed journals versus scholarly journals
Scholarly journals contain articles written by, and addressed to, experts in a discipline. They are concerned with academic study, especially research, and demonstrate the methods and concerns of scholars. The main purpose of a scholarly journal is to report original research or experimentation and to communicate this information to the rest of the scholarly world. The language of scholarly journals reflects the discipline covered, as it assumes some knowledge or background on the part of the reader. Scholarly journals always rigorously cite their sources in the form of footnotes or bibliographies. Many scholarly journals are published by professional organizations.
While not all scholarly journals go through the peer-review process, it is usually safe to assume that a peer-reviewed journal is also scholarly.
Finding peer-reviewed journals and journal articles
There is no comprehensive source for identifying all peer-reviewed journals. However, some online databases to which the library subscribes have begun to flag the peer-reviewed journals so they can be searched in the database.