Skip to Main Content

Reference Guide: Looking up if it is Peer-Reviewed

Putting multipurpose pages here, such as accessing articles, submitting ILL, impact factors, etc.

What is Peer Review?


Peer review is a process that many (though not all) academic journals require their research articles to undergo before they are published. This process can vary slightly, but typically it involves sending the submitted article to other researchers or other experts in the field ("Peers"). These peers look closely at the experiment and its methods to ensure that it any experiments described within the article are replicable.

How can I tell if an article is Peer-Reviewed?

There are many ways to check the peer-review status of a particular article or journal. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use the library databases and the filters that they provide. For the majority of the databases (including OneSearch), there is an option to narrow down results to only feature results from journals that are peer-reviewed:


Screenshots of "Peer-Reviewed" checkboxes on various databases

The above image shows the "peer-reviewed" checkboxes on ProQuest, EBSCO, and OneSearch databases.


Using these filters can be a great way to ensure that you are only seeing peer-reviewed results.

HOWEVER. It's important to remember that not everything published in a peer-reviewed journal is peer-reviewed. Letters to the editor, book reviews, and editorials all can be printed in these journals without being subjected to the peer-review process.

This method is not 100% reliable, but is usually pretty accurate. If you are looking for complete accuracy, it is recommended that you look up the title in Ulrich's Periodicals Directory (see below for more details)

Ulrich's Periodicals Directory

A more thorough way to check the peer-review status of a particular journal is to use another resource called Ulrich's Periodicals Directory. Ulrich's is the definitive guide to get all sorts of information on a journal, including publication data, parent companies and affiliated organizations, and yes, peer-review status. In Ulrich's, peer-reviewing is referred to as refereed.

To do this, just follow these instructions:

Head to Ulrich's, either using the Database List linked from the library homepage, or by using the link below this box.

  1. Sign in using your University credentials
  2. Next, enter the name or ISSN of the journal (article titles will not work) and hit Enter.
  3. In the results, journals that use a peer-review process will be marked with this "referee" symbol: "refereed" icon from Ulrich's Periodicals Directory
  4. Other points of note on the results page:

Screenshot of Ulrich's Periodicals Reporter with highlights on referee icon and additional filters

        5. If you click on the title of the journal, you'll be taken to more information about it. You can also follow the link in the top right corner to view the Library's coverage of this particular title.

Screenshot of journal page on Ulrich's Periodicals Directory with "Find It @ Pollak Library" link highlighted