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What does peer-review mean?

Academic peer-review is a process through which scholarly work is reviewed by experts in a field before a decision is made to publish the work.

Names for peer-reviewed articles

  • Peer-reviewed
  • Scholarly
  • Academic
  • Refereed

Peer review process

Note: The process described below reflects the review process for peer-reviewed articles published in academic journals. Some academic books (e.g., many published by university presses) are also peer reviewed and follow a similar process.

  • Draft of article is sent to the journal editors, who send the article to experts in the field (reviewers). 
  • Reviewers evaluate the accuracy, quality, and originality of the research documented in the article.
  • Reviewers make one of the following recommendations: published in its current form; publish after required revisions; revise and resubmit; reject. 
  • Editor sends the author the final editorial decision.
  • If appropriate, author revises the article based on feedback. Editor or reviewers review the article again.
  • If appropriate, the article is published.

Common characteristics of peer-reviewed articles

  •  The author's credentials include an advanced degree and an affiliation with a university or research institution.
  •  The writing style uses technical terms because it is written for other scholars.
  •  The article contains an abstract, literature review, and reference list.

Video "Peer Review in Three Minutes