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Plant Pathology

How to Find Journal Articles

Journal articles can be found in a variety of places:

Article Types

What type of article are you looking for or looking at?

These categories are not rigid and some of them overlap.  Here are some characteristics to help identify the article type:

Peer reviewed (or Refereed):

  • usually (but not always) research articles
  • peer review process should be clearly described in journal
  • frequently, but not always, identified by a string of dates on each article published. Passage of time between submission, revision, and final acceptance may suggest that the author’s peers reviewed the article for reproducibility and value of the contribution
  • peer review is typically conducted anonymously by scholars external to the author's institution.  Authors do not typically know who is reviewing their writing ("single blind"). In "double blind peer review" the authors names are also concealed from reviewers
  • Not every article in a peer-reviewed journal is peer-reviewed.  Many academic or research journals also include editorials, comments, conference summaries, and reviews that may not be peer-reviewed.
  • Version of Record is the official article after peer-review and layout are completed. Author-accepted manuscript is a peer-reviewed article that is not in final layout by the publisher. A preprint article has not undergone or completed peer review.

Open Access (OA)

  • Material that is free to read and does not require a subscription to access. Gold OA is the publisher's final version; Green OA is when an author shares an earlier version. Read more about Open Access here.

Original Research articles: (peer reviewed)

  • typically published in a journal
  • highly likely to have been peer-reviewed
  • They are structured like lab reports, with sections for:  the abstract or summary of the project, introduction and literature review, hypothesis or experimental question, method or procedure used, results and data gathered,  the analysis or interpretation of the data, and conclusions.
  • Their purpose is to serve as the primary (first) report of research, and they are used by practitioners as a theoretical base for their applications. Research articles contain highly technical language for an experienced or educated audience.
  • Not every article in a peer-reviewed journal is peer-reviewed.  Many academic or research journals also include editorials, comments, conference summaries, and book reviews that may not be peer-reviewed.

Review articles: (peer reviewed)

  • summarize published literature about a topic, providing historical context for current research
  • may identify trends, replication of results, and hypotheses that need further research and testing

Conference papers:

  • may present "works in progress
  • In some cases the conference paper may be peer-reviewed, and sometimes only the abstract is peer-reviewed.  Conference papers might be published in conference proceedings, but not all conferences produce proceedings

Technical reports: (not peer reviewed)

  • are structured like case studies: or "how I solved this problem."
  • They serve as a project report to the funding source, which may be a federal, state, or local government agency.  Tech reports are not always available; they may be kept proprietary, especially if client is a non-governmental corporation.

Trade publication articles: (not peer reviewed)

  •  frequently published in magazines or journals
  •  written for practitioners
  • They are structured informally, and they may contain lots of advertising and short news items providing up-to-date information about products, meetings and research.  Articles are brief and usually do not have references at the end.

Popular articles: (not peer reviewed)

  • published in magazines and and other news sources intended for non-specialist audiences
  • typically do not contain original research results

Websites, press releases, encyclopedia entries: (not peer reviewed)

  • use with caution, and evaluate for authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, and coverage

Recommended Databases

  • CAB Abstracts (in Web of Knowledge)
    International in scope. Great for multi-disciplinary research.
    Primarily for research funded by U.S.D.A.,  agriculture, food, natural resources
  • Global Plant Initiative (JSTOR)
    Community-contributed database that features more than two million high resolution plant type specimen images and other foundational materials from the collections of hundreds of herbaria around the world.
  • Biosis
    Great for biological sciences/organism information.
  • Ecology Abstracts (1982-current)
    Current ecology research across a wide range of disciplines, reflecting recent advances in light of growing evidence regarding global environmental change and destruction.
  • ASAE
    Technical documents published by American Society of Agricultural Engineers
  • Biological & Agricultural Index
    Agricultural research, biology, environmental science, genetics, horticulture, physiology, veterinary medicine, wildlife management and much more.
  • Web of Science
    Multidisciplinary, abstracts and indexing back to 1900.
  • SciFinder Scholar (or UF Access Instructions)
    Chemicals and substances, including biological materials.
  • Scopus
    Multidisciplinary, curated abstracts and citations
  • Dimensions Analytics
    Multidisciplinary, includes full text publications, grants & patents too.




Peer review

Q. What is peer review?

A. For an article to be published in an academic journal, it must be examined by experts in the field. They determine whether the information is reliable, well researched, and of interest to others who study that subject. Click on image for 5 min video explanation of peer review from North Carolina State University.


Q. How can I tell if an article is peer-reviewed?

A. There are several ways to determine if an article is refereed (peer-reviewed). The best way is to read the publisher's policies at the journal website (look for Peer Review or Editorial Policy, Submission or Author Guidelines). Ulrich's Global Serials Directory also indicates whether a journal is refereed/peer-reviewed. Beware that peer-reviewed journals also include content that is not peer reviewed, such as letters and book reviews. A peer-reviewed article will usually show a string of dates, usually either near the abstract or at the bottom of the 1st page of the PDF version or at the end of the article, showing when the article was submitted, revised, and accepted.

Example: Manuscript received November 9, 2020; revised February 5, 2021. Published July 24, 2021.


Databases may offer the ability to filter search results to display only peer-reviewed publications. Search engines, like Google Scholar, includes both peer-reviewed and "grey" literature that is not commercially published and may not be peer reviewed.


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