Learn about the peer review process
This page will introduce you to the process of peer review.
Watch the short videos and read the accompanying content to learn about scholarly information and the peer review process.
Ulrichsweb - Is the journal peer reviewed?
Ulrichsweb is easy to search for detailed information on thousand of journals including if the journal is peer reviewed.
Go to the A-Z list of databases. Select 'U' for Ulrichsweb. Log in to Ulrichsweb. Enter the title (using quotation marks) of the journal.
Note the 'Refereed' symbol.
Peer review in 3 minutes
Peer Review in 3 Minutes by libncsu
Peer review - what is it?
At university when writing assignments generally you will need to include reputable information from academic or scholarly journals. Often academic journals are peer reviewed or refereed. Peer review is an accepted measure of quality. Depending on your discipline and assignment, you may be required to use at least some peer reviewed articles.
What Does "Peer Reviewed" or "Refereed" Mean?
Peer Review is a process that journals use to ensure the articles they publish represent the best scholarship currently available. When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed journal, the editors send it to other scholars in the same field (the author's peers) to get their opinion on the standard of the work. They consider:
the quality of the scholarship
the relevance to the field
the scholarly nature of the references
the methodology and research methods for soundness of practice
content for appropriateness for the journal.
Publications that don't use peer review (Time, MediaWeek, The Monthly) rely on the judgement of the editor to determine the quality of the work. That's why you can't count on them for solid, scientific scholarship.
Note: This is an entirely different concept from "Review Articles."
How do I know if a journal is peer reviewed?
Usually you can tell just by looking, as a scholarly journal is visibly different from other magazines, but occasionally it can be very difficult to decide. In these cases, you need to check in Ulrich's Periodical Directory Online. Enter the journal's title into the searchbox using inverted commas around the words so they are searched as a phrase, then click "submit". A report will tell you whether the journal contains articles that are peer reviewed, or, as Ulrichsweb calls it, Refereed.
How do I find peer review journal articles?
Many items in academic journals are not peer-reviewed for example: letters to the editor, conference reports, editorials, book reviews and 'commentaries'.
1. Some databases such as ScienceDirect, PsycARTICLES, Web of Science and SAGE Premier include ONLY peer reviewed journal articles.
2. Many other databases like ProQuest allow you to limit to peer reviewed, either by selecting an option before searching, or from the results screen.
Peer review checklist
Use this checklist to determine if a journal article is peer reviewed:
- Look at the article itself for a header or similar which indicates refereed or peer reviewed.
- Look at the TOC (table of contents) of the journal. Often items are grouped under a heading like "reviewed articles" or "original articles".
- Look inside the cover of a paper journal. Journals will state with the publishing details, that it is peer reviewed, or refereed.
- Look for an information page in the journal about the referee panel and review process?
- Look for an editorial notation like 'accepted for publication x date'
e.g. "Received 29 Oct 2009; received in revised form 15 Mar; accepted 31 Mar & published 3 May 2010".
- As well as other characteristics, a substantial reference list and abstract are included in peer-reviewed articles.
- Check the journal's website to see if a statement is made about the content being Peer Reviewed or Refereed. Although be aware that not all the contents of a refereed journal will be refereed (e.g. books reviews, practice, commentaries, editorials).
- Check Ulrichsweb to see if the journal is peer reviewed. Content like letters, reviews, commentaries etc, may not be peer reviewed.
This work by British Politics and Policy at LSE is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.