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University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

Biomedical Engineering

What is Peer Review?

Peer Review

As described by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors
"Peer review is the critical assessment of manuscripts submitted to journals by experts who are usually not part of the editorial staff." 
Additionally: "Because unbiased, independent, critical assessment is an intrinsic part of all scholarly work, including scientific research, peer review is an important extension of the scientific process."
Sometimes we hear a journal described as "peer reviewed" but papers are peer reviewed and not a complete journal.  Non-peer-reviewed editorials and news updates may appear alongside articles which are themselves reviewed.
For help in determining if a paper has gone through peer review:
  • Look carefully at the notes with a paper for a description of its progress through the process, often including date received and date finalized for publication.
  • Check a journal's or conference's website for author information about how papers are reviews.
  • Use the guidance of the library database:  Ulrichsweb.
  • Use the guidance of library databases which index articles and label them as, for example, "scholarly."

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