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BIO 191: General Biology I

What does Peer-Reviewed Mean?


What is the Peer Review Process?


Peer reviewed articles are the appropriate type of resource to use for your assignments. Peer reviewed articles primarily appear in academic, scientific, or other scholarly publications. When an article is considered "peer reviewed," that means that it has undergone the peer review process. 


Peer review is a process (not a type of article) in which an article is judged by an impartial panel of two or more experts in the field; these experts are called "peer reviewers." Peer reviewers primarily focus on ensuring that an article does not have any errors or biases in terms of its experimental procedures and analyses, that the article's findings make a substantial contribution to its field, and that the article provides new information within its specified field. 


In order to find scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles, it is most efficient to use the library's databases (see Finding Articles on left). 


Example of Peer-Reviewed Article


"Approaches in the risk assessment of genetically modified foods by the Hellenic Food Safety Authority"

Determining if an Article has Undergone Peer Review


Did My Article Undergo the Peer Review Process?


In order to determine if an article has undergone peer review, the easiest method is to use Google.


STEP 1: Determine the title of the journal in which your article was published. If your article is in a journal that is titled something like "Conference Proceedings," you should assume that this article is NOT peer-reviewed. You will need to find another one.

REMINDER: The journal title is not the database title (e.g. Scopus, ScienceDirect, etc.). 


STEP 2:  Google the journal title and either the words "peer-review" or "submission guidelines".  Review your Google results and select the webpage page that is published by the journal and describes the journal itself and its publication process (i.e. not Wikipedia). 


STEP 3: You might have to browse, but usually, a journal that uses the peer review process will state so on either their (1) "About this Journal" webpage or (2) "Author Guidelines for Submission" webpage. 


STEP 4: If your article is published in a journal that uses peer review, your final step is to make sure it is not an editorial/op-ed. Editorials/op-eds are published within peer reviewed journals, but they do not actually undergo the peer review process.

HINT Editorials and op-eds usually state this on the top of the first page of the article. 


Non-Peer Reviewed Articles

Is Everything in a Peer Reviewed Journal Actually Peer Reviewed? 


Even if a journal is peer reviewed, not all content in the journal will actually be peer reviewed. 


"Non-peer reviewed" resources found in scholarly journals include conference proceedings, meeting notes, editorials/op-eds, book reviews, and news articles. 


While this content can sometimes be helpful, they are not good for your lab reports! Make sure your article is not one of these things!