Skip to main content

Distinguish between types of publications

About scholarly journals

Purpose

Scholarly journals include one or more of the following:

  • Results of research (experiments and other research)
  • Case studies
  • Theories

Intended audience

Scholarly journals are written for scholars and researchers in a particular field.

Not an expert? See our guide on how to read a scholarly journal article!

Authors

Scholarly journal articles are written by experts in a particular field. In most fields, these experts are professors at colleges and universities. However, experts in some fields - like medicine and other sciences - might also work in hospitals, labs, government agencies, or similar organizations.

Characteristics

  • Authors are clearly identified; their graduate degrees or credentials are usually shown too
  • Words and phrases in the article may be used only by people in that field, or used in a certain way
  • Mostly black & white
  • May contain graphs or charts (photographs are less common)
  • Articles usually have many references to works, scholarship, or personal communications
  • Few, if any, advertisements

Publisher

Many scholarly journals are published by professional associations, academic institutions, or sometimes commercial publishers.

Frequency

Scholarly journals are usually published quarterly, monthly, or somewhere in between (so roughly between 4-12 times a year). Some scholarly journals are published weekly, but this is uncommon.

Scholarly journals are held to a high standard

Articles in scholarly journals are peer-reviewed. This means that other experts review these articles before they are published. The publication process can take a long time, especially if the author(s) need to make many edits. It's not unusual to see an article about research that was done a year or two before!

Scholarly journals can be hard to find... Ask your librarian for help.

  • Some people receive scholarly journals, because they are included in their membership in professional associations
  • Many people access scholarly journals through their library
  • Open access scholarly journals are freely available online, to anyone

What are some examples of scholarly journals?

Journal of Refugee Studies
* Accessed through Penfield Library

The cover of volume 32, issue 2 of the Journal of Refugee Studies

Space Research Today
* Accessed through Penfield Library

The cover of volume 201 of the Space Research Today journal

Ask a Librarian