Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

Scholarly publications

Researchers publish their research in different publications: scholarly articles, books, doctoral theses, conference proceedings and reports. Keep in mind that the scholarly (scientific) status for different publications vary. Publications which have undergone some kind of review by peers have higher status.

Scholarly article

How do I assess the scholarliness of an article?

  • The article is written by a researcher working at a university/equivalent
  • The article is reviewed by other researchers within the same subject/discipline. A process known as peer review.
  • The article is published in a scholarly (academic/scientific) journal.
  • The intended audience is academic and the language is advanced.
  • The article contains a reference list.

Scholarly journal

The best method to evaluate the scholarliness of a journal is to read the journal's web page. Information about journals are also provided through the database Ulrichsweb. The term “Refereed” refers to journals which use the peer-review process.


Be aware that not every article in a scholarly (academic, scientific) journal has to be scholarly. Academic journals often contain editorials, book reviews, conference news, research news and similar material which are not considered scholarly

Scholarly book (academic, scientific)

Researchers may publish in books or in book chapters edited by well-established researchers.  If you are unsure of the status of a book you can use similar criteria as when you are assessing a scholarly article. Please check with the University Library or your teacher/supervisor if you are unsure.

Doctoral thesis (PhD thesis, dissertation)

In order to get their doctoral degree the doctoral student has to report his studies in the form of a thesis (PhD thesis). The doctoral thesis is publicly defended at a seminar. The opponent is a highly qualified academic. An examining committee then decides upon the approval or the rejection of the doctoral thesis.

Licentiate thesis

A licentiate's degree may be taken before the doctoral degree. After the licentiate thesis some choose to go on to write a doctoral (PhD) thesis. A licentiate thesis is also defended publicly at a seminar with an opponent and afterwards an examining committee approves or rejects the thesis.

Conference proceeding

Researchers with similar interests have a need for exchanging ideas and meeting each other. Sometimes this is done at conferences (symposiums). Researchers often present their research at a conference and this might result in a short article. Sometimes these articles are reviewed by peers.

Working papers and reports

University departments or research institutes might also publish research in report series. The main purpose of working papers/reports is to account for ongoing or completed research. They are not peer-reviewed.

Films: Scholarly publications

The library search tool

More information about how to search for peer-reviewed articles in the library search tool.

How to read a scholarly article

Western University Libraries (3 minutes)

Peer review

North Carolina State University Libraries (3 minutes)