Peer-Reviewed Articles and How to Find Them

Peer review is at the core of scholarly publishing. It serves to assess the quality, validity, and originality of the articles submitted for publication. The primary purpose of this process is to keep scientific integrity and filter out lower-quality content. As an article undergoes this type of assessment, it becomes more valuable. After all, the importance of this method for validating research is backed by the fact that it has been in continuous use for over three centuries.

This article shares more details about what peer review is, how it's done, and how to find peer-reviewed articles.

Peer Review Peer-review guarantees quality
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What are Peer-Reviewed Articles?

Peer-reviewed or refereed journal articles are scholarly publications that undergo a special quality assessment. A journal’s editorial board teams up with field experts to evaluate each manuscript before accepting it for publication or rejecting it.

A high-quality article should excel in the novelty, relevance, and significance of its research or ideas. Other than assessing these qualities, the reviewers also ensure the material adheres to the editorial standards of the target journal. After all, publishing an article also has an impact on the journal's reputation.

Sometimes, before the review process, the author's identity traces are removed from the draft. This type of evaluation is called a "blind" review. Blind reviews are a popular method of judging an article according to the quality of the work without letting the author's popularity interfere.

There are two types of blind reviews: single blind and double blind. In the former, the reviewer is aware of the author’s identity, but not conversely. In the latter, none of them knows who the other one might be.

There is also the “open peer review” process that still doesn’t have a standardized definition but represents a combination of different review methods. The idea is to make the classical peer review process more transparent. It covers plenty of aspects, including:

  • Open Up Identities. The authors and reviewers are aware of each other’s identity.
  • Making Review Reports Accessible. Review reports get published together with the article.
  • Open Up Participation. Not only invited experts can comment, but a wider community can contribute as well.

Peer-reviewed articles are written by experts or PHD students in a specific field and are destined for other scholars interested in or working in the same area. Since the topic of the articles is often too specific, it's impossible to have one editor review all manuscripts for a science journal. Instead, scholar peers from the relevant field are invited to do the assessment.

Most peer-reviewed articles include the following elements:

  • Discipline-specific language and terms
  • In-text citations
  • Bibliography of cited sources
  • Charts, graphs, and other visualizations related to the topic

The peer-reviewed articles are published by professional organizations or societies, universities, scholarly presses, or research centers.

All this is to say that the journal publishers invest time and effort into creating a robust system that helps review the articles before they're rejected or accepted for publication. So, when you run across a peer-reviewed journal article, it means that scholars from its field vetted it for relevance and quality. That's why some university professors may want students only to use papers that have undergone this selection process.

What Is the Peer-Review Process?

The peer-review process consists of several steps. They are as follows:

1. Paper Submission

First, an author submits the paper to the journal. That is often done via email but more and more dominantly via dedicated online platforms.

2. Editorial Office Assessment

The editorial office checks whether the article's composition and arrangement respect the journal's Author Guidelines. At this point, only the technical parts of the paper get assessed.

3. Appraisal by Editor-in-Chief

The Editor-in-Chief checks whether the manuscript is sufficiently interesting for the journal. They can reject the manuscript if it lacks originality or relevance (this is called “desk rejection”).

4. Invitation to Reviewers

The editor in charge of the article processing invites the scholars they believe could be appropriate reviewers. The editor waits for all reviewers to respond and may issue new invitations until obtaining the required number. There must be two or more reviewers involved in the process.

5. Conducting the Review

The reviewer proceeds to read the paper. They go over the work for the first time for an initial impression. They can recommend rejecting the paper if they believe there are significant problems. Otherwise, they go over the manuscript a few more times and create a detailed review. Finally, they submit the review to the journal and recommend whether to accept or reject it. Very often they ask for minor or major revision of the manuscript addressing the questions and comments in their report. In such cases the revised submission is returned to the same referee for a repeated check.

6. Final Evaluation of the Reviews

In some journals, the handling editor goes over the reviews and makes a final decision. In others, the decision will be made by the editor-in-chief. If there are significant variations between the reviews, the editor can invite additional reviewers to help them with decision-making. Finally, the editor lets the author know the final decision via email or via the journal’s online platform.

How to Find Peer-Reviewed Articles

If you're a student, you may be required to use peer-reviewed articles for your scholarly work. However, most papers can be found in a variety of sources, including:

  • Preprint Archives
  • Scholarly journals or articles

But how can you recognize peer-reviewed articles? To do so, you also need to know how to find a journal that publishes peer-reviewed papers.

First, you’ll want to visit a popular database and limit your search to peer-reviewed journals. You may have to click on "advanced" or "expert" search settings for some systems to find this feature. Note that not all databases allow you to limit your search options.

Also, to find a peer-reviewed journal, you can check a journal's web page. If it's peer-reviewed, there should be a statement about it.

Finally, you can use online library databases to look for peer-reviewed articles.

Choose AKJournals to Find Peer-Reviewed Articles

Peer-reviewed articles are high-quality, relevant, and original pieces of scholarly work that have undergone a strict review process. An editorial board and the field experts work together to assess article manuscripts for quality and relevance before publishing them in a journal. Doing so is important because it filters out low-grade work and helps bring the latest and most relevant content into the scientific world.

To find peer-reviewed articles, it's best to use online databases and filter them to show works that have undergone this process. Also, you can check a journal's website for notes on peer-review.

All of the journals from the AKJournals’ collection are peer-reviewed. As part of Hungary's oldest continuously-operating publishing house, our mission is to provide the scientific community with the highest-quality peer-review journal articles across various disciplines. Feel free to go through the subjects on our website and look for the publications you're interested in.