You may have heard your lecturer use the term “peer reviewed”,
“refereed” or “scholarly” when they’re talking about journal articles; but what does this actually mean, and why is it important for your
When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed journal, it is reviewed
by scholars (peers) in that field of research. This review process
determines if the article is appropriate for publication. That’s all
very well, but why go through this process? Why not just publish an
article that the author(s) have obviously spent a lot of time on? The
point of the peer review process is to weed out articles that are
either not important for that field of research or are not of sufficient
quality to be included for publication.
Why is this important for your studies? If you include peer reviewed
articles in the research for your assessments, you are indicating to
your lecturer that you know how and where to find quality and relevant
Now you know the what and the why, what about the how? Sometimes it can
be difficult to look at a journal article and know if it is peer
reviewed, the Library has a tool that can help.
Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory
(Ulrichs) is a database that lists information about most of the
journals published throughout the world. Ulrichs will give you
information about the journal in which your article is published, so you
need to search the database for the Journal title, not the article
title. When you find the journal in Ulrichs, you’ll know if it is a
peer reviewed article when a referee’s jersey is displayed next to the
title. In the example below, the first two journals are peer reviewed.