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Scholarly Journals

Scholarly journals are journals which contain articles, papers, or original research reports written by academics or professionals in a given field. Their primary purpose is to disseminate information in a particular field of study.

Contents of Scholarly Journals

As the primary means of official communication for academics and professionals, scholarly journals provide the latest research findings or theories,  present reviews to recently published books, and announce meetings or seminars.  The affiliation or credentials of the contributors are noted within the article or report.


Scholarly journals focus on a particular discipline or field of study.  For instance in psychology there are the following scholarly publications:  the Journal of Personality, the American Journal of Psychology and  Adolescence. In the field of Political Science, professional journals include Current History, Journal of International Affairs and Review of Politics.


Publishers of Scholarly Journals

Scholarly journals are recognizable by their publisher. Scholarly societies, institutions, and councils are common journal publishers, as are colleges and universities. For example, the journal Foreign Affairs is published by the Council on Foreign Relations; and International Philosophy Quarterly is published by Fordham University.

Editing of Scholarly Journals

A key determinate of a scholarly journal is that it is peer reviewed.  The journal articles  are edited and selected for inclusion by distinguished academics or experts in the field or discipline to which the journal is devoted.  The editors are assisted by colleagues who review papers submitted for publication.  The editors and their colleagues review papers for the quality of the scholarship, intellectual integrity, appropriateness to the particular journal, and writing style.  This process acts as a screening device to ensure the journal’s quality.  In contrast, magazines such as Newsweek or Time are edited by full-time journalists who are not necessarily experts in a particular field. 

Comparison Chart: Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Magazines

Scholarly Journal    Popular Magazine


Articles are lengthy 

Serious appearance; glossy pages or photographs are not found                               

May contain graphs or charts to support the article topic

Advertisements are minimal, if found at all.

Articles generally short

Attractive appearance


Heavily illustrated 


Scholars, professionals, and students General audience


Scholars, professionals, experts in a particular field of study Reporters, Journalists, usually not experts on the subject


Sources cited in footnotes and/or bibliography Sources not cited or cited informally within the text of the article
Purpose To disseminate information in a particular field of study; to report results of original research or experimentation, present reviews of recently published books, and announce meetings or seminars. Provide general information

Article Acceptance Procedure

Many scholarly journals are refereed journals - undergoing a process called "peer-review" where other scholars in the field examine the articles before being published Written by hired reporters, edited by magazine editors, and published for commercial purposes
Publishers Scholarly societies, institutions, and councils are common journal publishers, as are colleges and universities. For-profit companies such as Time Warner or Walt Disney