Refereed Journals

Primary research is often published in a peer-reviewed journal. Look for the referee jersey icon - referee T shirt logo in Ulrich's Periodical Directory---

What's the H-index?

Devised by Jorge Hirsch, the H-index is the highest number of papers an author has that have each received at least that number of citations. This may be fairer than counting total papers or just high-ranked articles, and can't be self-inflated. Someone with an h-index of 10 has written 10 papers that each had at least 10 citations. 

H-index (Publish or Perish)


Essential Science Indicators

Beware Predatory Journals

Beall's List at lists publishers and journal titles that are deceptive in their publishing practices (charge author fees, do not practice peer-review, and do not "count" in promotion review). Always check with your advisor before submitting a manuscript for publication - they know the best journals.

Deceptive Journals

  1. Always check with your advisor before not respond to unsolicited emails. They will charge you to publish (like $3000!), there is no peer review, and you won't be able to resubmit your work elsewhere.
  2. The library has created a libguide on predatory publishing with FAQs and tips.
  3. An example of a deceptive publisher is Omics Group, which claims to publish over 700 journals and organize over 3,000 conferences globally. Ex. of Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change and this 2017 cached list of deceptive journals.
  4. thinkchecksubmit - is a good resource for identifying good places to submit articles.
  5. DOAJ - Directory of Open Access Journals is a source of reputable open access journals.


Think Check Submit organization


High Impact Journals for Materials Science

Peer reviewed articles

Oceanography journal cover National Geographic journal cover

What's the difference between these 2 journals? Oceanography is peer-reviewed, whereas National Geographic is a popular-press title. 

Peer review is scientists' and other scholars' best effort to publish accurate information. Each article has been submitted by a researcher, and then reviewed by other scholars in the same field to ensure that it is sound science. What they are looking for is that:

  • The methodology has been fully described (and the study can thus be replicated by another researcher)
  • There are no obvious errors of calculation or statistical analysis
  • The findings support the conclusions. That is, do the results of the research support what the researcher has said about them?
  • It isn't a perfect system: Scientists make errors (or commit fraud) as often as any other human being and sometimes bad articles slip through. But in general, peer-review ensures that several trained eyes have seen an article before it appears in print.

Peer-reviewed journals are generally considered "primary source" material: When a new scientific discovery is made, a peer-reviewed journal is often--but not always--the first place it appears.

Popular and trade publications are not peer-reviewed, they are simply edited. That does not mean they are any less potentially truthful or informative--most popular and trade publications take pride in careful fact-checking.* But when the topic is scientific research, the information is generally "secondary": It has already appeared elsewhere (usually in a peer-reviewed journal) and has now been "digested" for a broader audience.

If you want to verify that a journal is peer-reviewed, check Ulrich's Periodical Directory.

Some sources of peer-reviewed articles: