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Database help: Peer-reviewed

What is peer-review?

You will sometimes be asked to find and use peer-reviewed articles.

Peer-reviewed articles are:

  • written by subject experts,
  • reviewed by other subject experts ("peers'), and
  • published in peer-reviewed journals.

Peer-reviewed journals are sometimes called refereed journals.

Peer-reviewed articles and journals are regarded as being more scholarly and authoritative than article and journals that are not peer-reviewed.

How to check if an article/journal is peer-reviewed

Primo Search 

When you have a set of results in Primo Search, you can use one of the Show only options to narrow your results to articles from Peer-reviewed journals: 

The Peer-review limiter in Primo Search is in the left hand column, at the top



Some databases offer the option to limit or refine searches to peer-reviewed journals:

The Peer-reviewed journals limiter in a database will be with the other limiters, often in the left or right hand column


Notice how EBSCOhost calls them “Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals”. This raises questions about whether EBSCOhost’s limiter will provide accurate results, and the same problem might occur with Primo Search. So we might need to check or confirm that a journal is peer-reviewed...

Using Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory to check whether a journal is peer-reviewed

The most reliable way to check whether a journal is peer-reviewed is to check in the database Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.  Here's how:

  1. Locate Ulrichsweb in CSU Library’s list of U-Databases
  2. Use the default Basic Search to find the journal you are checking. Type in the name of the journal in double quotation marks;
  3. In the table of results, if the “Refereed” column for the journal includes an icon of a basketball referee’s shirt, that means the journal is peer-reviewed:

The peer-review symbol appears in search results in the Ulricsweb database in the second column from the left

Using a journal’s website to check whether a journal is peer-reviewed 

This information will usually be included in a section on information for authors or publication policies and procedures. A good way to find the homepage for a journal is to check in Ulrichsweb!!

An example of information from a journal website: 

Publisher information from a journal website states that all manuscripts are subject to double-blind peer review

Peer Review