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Graduate Research in Public Policy and Political Science

A guide to the best resources and best research practices for graduate research in Political Science

Checking for Peer-Review - Three Options

Here are three methods for the checking peer-reviewed (refereed) status of a journal:

  1. OneSearch - easiest method if you have the title of an article
  2. UlrichsWeb - most comprehensive list of journals (currently only works on campus) (must have journal name)
  3. Scholar's Portal - if you're off campus and you only have the name of the journal


About Peer Review and Databases that limit to Peer-Reviewed Journals


Peer-Review Check - Option #1 - OneSearch (library website)

 Type the title of a journal article into OneSearch to determine whether the journal it was published in is peer reviewed.


If the journal that this article was published in a blue icon and PEER REVIEWED label will appear in the results.


If your article doesn't appear in the OneSearch results -
which will happen if we don't subscribe to the journal -
you can still generate a OneSearch record by clicking on
the option Expand My Results -
found on the right-hand side of the results page.



Peer-Review Check - Option #2 - "UlrichsWeb"



For instance if I search for journals with the words "public policy" in the title UlrichsWeb indicates that:

Harvard Public Policy Review is not refereed 

The Public Policy & Aging Report is not refereed

Criminology and Public Policy is refereed (it is peer reviewed)


Search UlrichsWeb to determine if a particular journal is refereed or peer-reviewed. A peer-reviewed journal is indicated by a referee icon.


WARNING  the black-and-white referee's shirt Icon is the icon to watch for when determining if a journal is peer-reviewed (refereed).  Do not pay any attention to the gold stars (which are labeled "reviewed" ... but in this case that just means the journal was "reviewed" by a librarian for UlrichsWeb ... it does NOT mean that the journal is "peer reviewed").


You can also click on the title of the entry - e.g. Criminology and Public Policy - and then click on the option "Additional Title Details" which will also confirm that the journal is indeed "peer reviewed".

UlrichsWeb Additional Title Details will indicate if a journal is refereed (peer-reviewed)

Peer-Review Check - Option #3 - "Scholar's Portal"


About Peer Review and Databases that limit to Peer-Reviewed Journals

To maintain high levels of quality and reliability, the most respected and dependable journals in Public Policy and Political Science require all manuscripts (potential articles) to be reviewed by other experts (peers) to determine whether the submitted scholarship meets the high standards of the journal.

This process is called peer review and journals that utilize peer review are often referred to as refereed journals.  


To be sure you are using the highest quality research and scholarship in your projects you should gather your materials from peer reviewed journals / refereed journals   


How can you be sure you are working with a peer-reviewed journal?

When searching databases such as ABI/INFORMAcademic Search EliteAPA PsycInfo, or Gale Academic OneFile be sure to check the box for "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals" found farther down the search page before or after completing your search:

Scholarly or peer reviewed or refereed journal option for EBSCO databases such as ERIC and APA PsycInfo

When searching OneSearch you can limit your results after you search by clicking on the "Peer-reviewed Journals" option found on the right-hand column of the results page:

The Peer-reviewed Journal option in OneSearch (the Rod Library search engine)


However, you might find an article using Google Scholar or from a reference list (snowball backward) or using the cited by option in Google Scholar (snowball forward). Since you can't limit to peer-reviewed journals with these techniques you need to use the database UlrichsWeb or the Scholar's Portal to determine if the journal that published your article was refereed (peer-reviewed).