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Journals

This guide provides an introduction and brief overview of journals and academic publications.

What is a Journal?

Journals are periodical publications containing articles related to a particular subject area, or academic discipline. Journals are published at set intervals throughout the year (monthly, quarterly, biannually, etc.) and are each assigned a unique volume number and issue number that typically identify the number of years the publication has been circulating, and how many times the journal has been published so far that year. 

Most journal access requires a subscription -- either through an institution, or a private subscription. VIU Library currently provides full-text access to over 80,000 with the vast majority of them available online. There remains a small number of print journals in VIU Library's collection including some local community zines, smaller independent journals that do not have electronic versions available, and historical issues of journals

Academic vs. Popular Journals

Articles contained within academic scholarly journals have undergone a process known as peer review. Peer review is a double-blind evaluation of scholarly articles prior to publication, ensuring that the research quality meets the set standards of a given discipline. Experts in the field are asked by journal editors to take on a kind of gatekeeper role to assess the quality of the research. These peer reviewers test for accuracy and validity, and will often ask for some revisions. At the end of this process, an article is either accepted for publication, or declined. 

The peer review process is what separates academic journals from popular journals. Popular journals are generally more opinion-based and journalistic in style. Peer review evaluation is not required for articles published in popular journals.

Academic Journals Popular Journals
Canadian Medical Association Journal National Geographic
Child & Youth Services Psychology Today
American Art Macleans
AlterNative: An international journal of Indigenous Peoples The New Yorker

Unsure if a journal is academic or popular? Most journals will have an "about this journal" section that will tell you how they evaluate and select articles for publication, whether they use the peer review process or not, and if the journal is academic. You can also review the professional and academic credentials of authors and editors associated with the journal for relevance and expertise in the subject area. 

Looking for a Specific Journal?

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