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Peer Review

Understanding peer review and determining if sources are peer-reviewed.

What is Peer Review?

The peer review process tries to ensure that only the highest quality research is published. When an article is submitted to a peer-reviewed (or refereed) journal, the editor sends it to be reviewed by other scholars (the author's peers) in the same field. These reviewers recommend that the editor reject the paper, accept the paper as is, or accept the paper with author revisions.  

Though trustworthy, peer review is not without flaws. The Retraction Watch blog tracks when published articles are withdrawn due to plagiarism, error, fraud, or other reasons.

How can I tell if a particular journal is peer reviewed or refereed?

Has every article in a peer-reviewed journal been peer reviewed?

No. These types of articles don’t go through the peer review process:

  • book reviews
  • editorials
  • news
  • letters to the editor

If you have questions, ask a librarian.

Are scholarly articles the same as peer-reviewed articles?

Not exactly. All peer-reviewed articles are scholarly, but not all scholarly articles are peer-reviewed. For example, conference proceedings and technical reports are scholarly but not necessarily peer-reviewed.

Peer Review Process in 2 Minutes

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Creative Commons License

This work by UAA/APU Consortium Library is licensed under CC BY 4.0 and is based on University of Texas Libraries'  What is Peer Review? (CC-BY-NC). Note that linked content is covered by its own licenses.

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Guide Owner

This guide is maintained by Ruth Terry.