An academic journal, which is also known as a scholarly journal, is a regular publication in which researchers publish scholarship related to a particular academic discipline. The purpose of an academic journal is to be a transparent place for researchers to present their scholarship and for the academic community to evaluate and discuss the research. Before being published in an academic journal, a research manuscript is usually peer-reviewed or refereed. This means that fellow researchers in the field have closely evaluated the paper and decided that it is worth publishing in the journal to which the author submitted the paper.
There are no numbers on the exact number of academic journals in existence; however, estimates indicate that there are tens of thousands of academic journals. Within the category of academic journals, there are a variety of types, including letters or communications, research notes, reviews, research articles, and supplemental articles. Each field has its own academic journals and there are also interdisciplinary journals. Within a field, there is usually an official or unofficial ranking of the academic journals related to the discipline, with some academic journals considered to be more rigorous and reputable than others. For example, two of the top journals in Finance are Journal of Finance and Review of Financial Studies. In Sociology, two of the top journals are American Sociological Review and Annual Review of Sociology. Within the field of medicine, two respected journals are Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and The New England Journal of Medicine. Within the social sciences, Business and Society and Social Issues and Policy Review are examples of academic journals.
EBSCO Information Services, a provider of research databases, defines an academic journal as one that publishes articles containing footnotes and bibliographies, and whose intended audience is a research community. An academic journal, or a scholarly journal, will contain articles that are written by researchers for other professionals. The articles often include technical or specialized language as well as charts, diagrams, figures, or tables. Academic researchers base their own work on the existing literature, or previously published research in the field, so a reference list or bibliography is included in the article. In addition to the examples of academic journals above, other examples include: Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Political Economy, Academy of Management Annals, Annual Review of Biochemistry, Immunity, and Science.
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