Library DIY (beta)

Find peer reviewed articles

Finding Peer Reviewed Articles

A peer reviewed article is reviewed by experts or scholars in the field who judge the article for quality and new contributions of knowledge to the discipline. The best place to search for peer reviewed articles is in the PSU Library catalog or Databases & Articles.

Limit Your Search to Peer Reviewed Sources

Look for a checkbox that limits the search to peer reviewed journals or articles. This image shows where to limit a search to peer reviewed journals in the PSU Library catalog.

Peer reviewed Journals limit option

You can also limit a search to peer reviewed journals using a subject-specific database. This image shows how to limit search results in MLA International Bibliography, a key database for English literature.

peer reviewed journals limit option

Find Out More About the Journal

Search for the journal title in Ulrichs International Periodicals Directory. If you see this referee icon referee icon then the journal is peer reviewed, and you can select the journal title for more information. Also, search for the journal website, then look for an editorial policy page that will tell you if the journal is peer reviewed.

Watch this video, Is it Peer Reviewed?, to learn how to determine if an article is from a peer reviewed journal.

Understanding what Peer Review means

The Peer Review Process

Scholarly researchers write their findings and conclusions to draw a new thesis that adds to the body of knowledge in their discipline. Scholars publish their research in peer reviewed journals. This is how the peer review process works:

  1. A researcher writes an article and submits it for publication in a scholarly journal.
  2. The journal's editor reads the article and decides if it fits the journal.
  3. The article is sent out to reviewers who are scholars in the same field as the author. These experts are called peers or referees.
  4. The reviewers evaluate the article based on its quality, testing methodology, potential bias, ethical issues, and any other factors that would affect the research.
  5. The reviewers make their recommendation to the editor of the journal to either approve, reject, or revise the article. An article may need to be revised several times before it is published. The editor at the journal makes the final publication decision.
  6. Subscribers to scholarly journals are usually university and college libraries, or scholars in the field.
  7. The peer-review process continues even after an article is published. A peer-reviewed article may be corrected or even retracted after it has been published.

Watch this video, Peer Review in 3 Minutes, by the North Carolina State University Libraries,  to learn about the peer review process.

Link to video about peer review process

Checking whether an article is peer reviewed

Check to See if a Journal is Peer Reviewed

There are several ways to determine whether or not an article is scholarly or peer reviewed. If you want to verify that the article's journal is peer reviewed, then here some ways to find out. Note that an article can be from a peer reviewed journal and not actually be peer reviewed. Editorials, news items, and book reviews do not go through the same review process. 

Find Peer-reviewed Articles in the PSU Library Catalog

First, you can search for peer reviewed articles and journals in the PSU Library catalog. After your keyword search, filter your results on the left-hand side. Look under Availability and select Peer reviewed Journals

This image shows the option to narrow down to peer reviewed journals.

Peer Reviewed limit option

Find Peer Reviewed Articles in PSU Library Databases

Search the multidisciplinary database, Academic Search Premier, for peer reviewed articles by selecting Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals.

This image shows a keyword search with two results shown. The first result is an article from an academic journal, and the second result is a newspaper article. Newspapers are not peer-reviewed, but the academic journal might be. Select the filter, Limit To, then select Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals.

EBSCO database search results

The best practice for finding out if a journal is peer reviewed is to go to the journal website or look it up in Ulrichs International Periodicals Directory.

Find Peer Reviewed Articles in Ulrichs

Look up the journal title in the Library database, Ulrichs International Periodicals Directory. Look for a refereed shirt icon  referee shirt icon that represents peer reviewed articles. 

There might be multiple versions of a journal with the same title, or journals with very similar titles. This is often the case when online and print versions exist, or the journal has changed publishers. The image below shows multiple similar journals, The Science Teacher and Science Teacher. Check the details to learn more about the journal.

article in Ulrichs periodical directory database.

Check the Journal's Website

The journal's website indicates whether articles go through a peer review process.