The purpose of this guide is to introduce peer reviewed and scholarly articles and journals to students and strategies on how to evaluate these resources.
Peer review is commonly accepted as an essential part of scientific publication. But the ways peer review is put into practice vary across journals and disciplines. What is the best method of peer review? Is it truly a value-adding process? What are the ethical concerns? And how can new technology be used to improve traditional models?
This Nature web debate consists of 22 articles of analyses and perspectives from leading scientists, publishers and other stakeholders to address these questions. Key links and relevant articles from our archive are listed below, with further resources available through Connotea. Visit the Peer-to-Peer blog to join the debate.
To see the Table of Contents for resources on this topic, please go to:
One of the challenges for people who want to get published is to determine which publications are respected in the field. You can use Ulrichsweb to find out if specific journals are identified as peer reivewed and/or scholarly. (See tutorial.)
There are also several tools for identifying "top tier" journals:
Journal Citation Reports (JCR) (a database provided by Thomsom Reuters) is frequently consulted when scholars need to assess the noteworthiness of a particular journal in the sciences or social sciences. JCR can also be used to evaluate authors or articles appearing in those journals. JCR uses an algorithm based on the average number of citations to articles published in journals to calcutate a journal's Impact Factor (IF). JCR uses a core list of about 8,700 journal titles when calculating the Impact Factors of journals. Access to information about a journal's Impact Factor requires a subscription to JCR.
The Eigenfactor score is another measure of a journal's relative importance, but this approach uses both the number of "incoming" citations to the journals as well as what is deterimined to be the total importance of the journal to the scientific community. This is similar to Google's PageRank approach. Access to the Eigenfactor is free at http://eigenfactor.org Like JCR, Eigenfactor scores count the same 8,700 journal titles that used in JCR.
SCImago Journal & Country Rank database can be accessed free at http://www.scimagojr.com SCImago's journal rank indicators, also known as SJRs, are similar to the Eigenfactor scores. The major difference is that the SJRs are based on information obtained from Elsevier's Scopus database which includes more than 17,000 titles from 5,000 publishers. Because of the broader coverage provided by Scopus, this means that SCImago provides scholars with more information about more titles than is provided by either the JCR or the Eigenfactor score.
Google's PageRank -- PageRank is a link analysis algorithm and used by the Google search engine. It assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of web documents in order to measuring the relative importance of documents within the set. However, the algorithm may be applied to any collection of entities with reciprocal quotations and references. The numerical weight that it assigns to any given element E is referred to as the PageRank of E and denoted by PR(E). The name "PageRank" is a trademark of Google, and the PageRank process has been patented (U.S. Patent 6,285,999). Although the patent is assigned to Stanford University and not to Google, Google does have exclusive license rights on the patent from Stanford University.
Citation analysis -- If none of the methods discussed above work for you, you can look at the resources cited in a top journal in your specific field and do a citation analysid to find out which journals are cited the most frequently by scholars in your discipline.