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Writing and Publishing in the Medical and Health Sciences: Peer-Review Publishing Practices

This guide is intended to inform authors about the key features of scholarly writing and publishing in the medical and health sciences.

What are Peer-Reviewed Articles?

Articles in peer-reviewed or scholarly journals almost always report original research. Articles will typically include the following:

  • Author(s) credentials or academic affiliation

  • A lengthy abstract

  • Report on the research methodology

  • Conclusion or results of the research

  • Footnotes or in-text references

  • A lengthy bibliography

Is everything peer-reviewed in a Peer-Reviewed Journal?

Not all items that appear in peer reviewed journals are actually peer-reviewed. Articles that require a certain level of scholarly effort such as research studies,experiments and literature reviews are peer-reviewed. Items appearing in peer-reviewed journals that are not peer reviewed are;

  • Letters to the editor

  • Opinion pieces

  • Book reviews

  • Commentaries

  • Introductions

Keep that in mind when you limit your search to peer review. The results list may contain some of the above items that are not peer reviewed. Make sure you check what type of item you are looking at before you assume it is peer-reviewed simply because it appears in a peer-reviewed journal.

Review Articles vs. Peer-Review Articles

Review articles and Peer-reviewed articles are not the same thing

Review articles synthesize and analyze the results of multiple studies on a topic.

Peer-reviewed articles are articles of any kind that have been vetted for quality by an expert or number of experts in the field.

The bibliographies of review articles can be a great source of original, peer-reviewed empirical articles.

Selected Articles on Peer Review

Rigorous Peer Review is Worth the Effort.
Kearney MH.
Res Nurs Health. 2016 Oct 14;39(1):393-5. doi: 10.1002/nur.21771.

Academic Primer Series: Key Papers About Peer Review.
Yarris LM, Gottlieb M, Scott K, Sampson C, Rose E, Chan TM, Ilgen J.
West J Emerg Med. 2017 Jun;18(4):721-8. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2017.2.33430.