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Writing 120P: Heroes & Villains

Understanding the Scholarly Publication Process

What are scholarly articles?

In the sciences, many scholarly articles (also called peer-reviewed articles) include a description of a specific research study, the results of the study, and a discussion of the significance of these results. Other scholarly articles may provide a summary and analysis of all recently-published research on a given topic.


What is the peer-review process?

  1. Researchers write an article and submit it to a scholarly journal (also called a refereed journal or a peer-reviewed journal).
  2. The journal editors send the article to other expert researchers in the field, known as peer reviewers.
  3. The peer reviewers read the article and make a recommendation regarding whether the article is worthy of being published in the journal. They will consider factors such as the significance of the research findings and the quality of the scholarship. They will typically also suggest changes to improve the article.
  4. The journal editors decide whether to publish the article based on the peer reviewers' feedback. Often, they will ask the authors to make changes suggested by the peer reviewers before the article is re-considered for publication.

Be aware that not everything published in a scholarly journal is a peer-reviewed article. Scholarly journals also include book reviews, editorials, and other content that has not been peer-reviewed.

Identifying Scholarly Sources

Interdisciplinary Databases

Databases for Literature & Media Studies

Databases for Specific Topics