Searching and Writing

What is a scholarly publication?

Scholarly publications contain research findings that have been reviewed by subject experts prior to being published in a journal, book or another media form. 

Research aims to increase our knowledge within different disciplines. This means that research findings must be made available. Findings that are not published do not become a part of the scholarly knowledge base, nor can they be used in practice in the society at large. Moreover, publishing is an important way for researchers to boost their careers. It is therefore vital that the research community has access to efficient forms of publishing.

Primary and secondary publications

  • Primary publications contain original material and new research findings that are published for the first time, e.g. in scholarly journal articles, research reports and doctoral theses. Scholarly journals are known as primary journals, i.e. they accept articles that have never been published before. 
  • Secondary publications contain previously published material and overviews of research, e.g. research reviews, newspaper articles and popular scientific magazines, manuals and textbooks. In addition to providing compilations and overviews of scholarly publications on a particular subject, research reviews also often evaluate the various studies.

The kind of publication chosen for presenting findings can vary between disciplines. Scholarly articles is the dominant way of publishing new findings in science, technology and medicine. In the humanities and social sciences it is more common to publish books and reports.

Peer Review

Before an article is published in a scholarly journal, it is first checked by an editor and two or more researchers who are active in the same area of research. This is called peer-review and its purpose is to act as a quality audit. Documents that have undergone the process of being checked by subject experts prior to publication are accredited with greater academic pondus than those that have not. 

The editorial box in journals contains important information about where legal responsibility lies, the names of the academic reviewers connected to the journal, the requirements for getting published and information for authors.

How do I know if a journal is peer reviewed?