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Library DIY

I Do Not Know If This Article is Scholarly Or Peer-Reviewed

Peer-reviewed publications (sometimes called scholarly, academic, or refereed) have gone through a review process by experts in the field before being published. These strategies can help you determine if an article is peer-reviewed.   


1. If you found the article in a library database, there may be some indicators of whether the article is scholarly.

Here is an example from Academic Search Premier (EBSCO). Note: Academic Journal = Scholarly; Periodical = Not Scholarly.

Screenshot from EBSCO's Academic Search Premier highlighting the icons for scholarly versus non-scholarly articles

Here is an example from ProQuest Central (ProQuest). Note: the little mortar board = scholarly; the newspaper icon = non-scholarly.

Screenshot of ProQuest Central with scholarly versus non-scholarly article icons highlighted

Note, however, that some articles in peer-reviewed journals may not actually be peer-reviewed: editorials, news items, and book reviews do not necessarily go through the same review process. A peer-reviewed article should be longer than just a couple of pages and should include a bibliography.


2. In many library databases, the journal title may be linked, as shown below. Clicking on it takes you to a page that may indicate whether the journal is scholarly, academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed.


screenshot of article record in database with source (journal title) information highlighted


3. You can also look up the journal name in the library database Ulrich's. Search for the journal title and find the correct entry in the results list. (There may be multiple versions of the same journal, but there also may be two different journals with the same title). Look to the left of the title, and if you find a referee shirt icon, the journal is peer-reviewed or refereed. 

screenshot of Ulrich's with refereed icon highlighted


4. The publisher's website for the journal should also indicate whether articles go through a peer review process. Find a page like "For Authors" to locate this information.