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BIO 191: General Biology I

What is Peer Review? Video Introduction

From McLaughlin Library, University of Guelph

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 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. 

 

STEP 2: Find the webpage that is published about the journal

  • You can use Google to find this journal webpage 
  • In ScienceDirect, you can click on the journal webpage at the top of your article

 

STEP 3: Look through the following sections on the journal webpage to see if they mention peer-review (or NOT being peer-reviewed)

  •  "About this Journal" or "Aims and Scope"
  •  "Author Guidelines for Submission" 

 

STEP 4: A word of caution! There are some articles published in peer-reviewed journals that haven't gone through the peer-review process. These include:

  • Pre-prints or pre-proofs;
  • Editorials or opinion pieces (sometimes called commentaries);
  • Correspondence or Letters to the Editor
  • Perspective articles
  • News articles.

You don't want to use any of these!

 

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, commentaries, 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!