What is a Scholarly Journal? | SFU Library




Is the broad term for any publication issued periodically, including newspapers, journals, magazines, annuals, numbered monographic series and the proceedings, transactions and memoirs of societies.


All periodicals are serials, but are publications issued at regular intervals (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) and are intended to continue indefinitelyInclude newspapers, magazines, journals, and trade publications

Scholarly journal

Also called academic journal or very often peer-reviewed journal. Includes original research articles, written by researchers and experts in a particular academic discipline.

Peer-reviewed journal

Also known as scholarly journal, or academic journal, or refereed journal. Publishes only original research articles that are subjected to a rigorous evaluation through the peer-review process.The majority of scholarly journals go through the peer-review process, although there are some that are scholarly and non-peer reviewed, such as Journal of financial econometrics.

Peer-review process

Also known as the referee processAn editorial board asks subject experts to review and evaluate submitted articles before accepting them for publication in a scholarly journalSubmissions are evaluated using criteria including the excellence, novelty and significance of the research or ideasScholarly journals use this process to protect and maintain the quality of material they publishMembers of the editorial board are listed near the beginning of each journal issue

Primary sources

Provide firsthand information in the original words of the creator or eye witnessInclude creative works, for example: poetry, drama, novels, music, art, filmsInclude original documents, for example: interviews, diaries, speeches, letters, minutes, film footage, oral histoires, manuscriptsInclude reports of original research and ideas, for example: statistical data, case studies, conference papers, technical reports and research papers published in scholarly journalsFor more information, see Primary vs. Secondary Sources in Humanities and in Sciences, from the BMCC Library.

Secondary Sources

Provide information reviewing, evaluating, analyzing or interpreting primary sourcesInclude criticism and interpretation of creative worksInclude interpretations of original documents, for example: biographies, historical analyses, textbooks and encyclopedia articlesInclude summaries and reviews of scholarly findings, for example review articles, textbooks, encyclopedia articles and both scholarly journal and popular magazine articles

Review articles

Are secondary sources that report and summarize other authors’ works on a given subjectAre a useful overview tool; they provide a summary of recent research on a particular subjectReview articles are not considered research articles

Research Articles

Articles describing new research or ideasWritten in a formal manner that includes background information, methods used, results/interpretation and significanceOpen Access (OA)


Journals that are freely available online – this term specifically refers to free scholarly journalsExamples: Northwest Journal of Linguistics, Current Issues in Education

Source: What is a Scholarly Journal? | SFU Library