Q. Are books peer reviewed? If so, how can I tell or how can I find them?
The process of peer review generally applies to journal articles, but it is possible for a book to be peer reviewed as well. Although many books go through some sort of editorial or review process, there is not an easy method for determining whether a book is peer reviewed.
One method for locating peer-reviewed books is to take a look at book publications from university presses. Books published by university presses almost always go through a process of peer review. Books from university presses are typically written by faculty members are who are under immense pressure to produce authoritative scholarly literature. The process of peer review for university presses typically involves two or three independent referees who will initially review the manuscript. If the manuscript receives positive review, the university press will send it to their editorial board, who are all faculty members, for final review. This review process is required in order to obtain membership into the Association of American University Presses. You may view the member directory of the Association of American University Presses here.
Another method for determining whether a book is peer reviewed is to locate book reviews within scholarly journals on that particular book. These book reviews may provide a deep evaluation regarding the quality of scholarship and authority in the book. You may use the Library’s Roadrunner Search to locate book reviews.
To locate book reviews: Type the book title into the Roadrunner Search box. Then select Title from the drop-down box. Click Go! to execute the search.
From your results list, look to the Refine Results area on the left hand side of the screen. Scroll down to Source Types and select “Reviews”. Lastly, check mark the box next to “Scholarly/Peer Reviewed Journals” to ensure these book reviews are coming from academic journals as opposed to magazines. Your search results will now only contain books reviews from scholarly/peer reviewed journals.
IGI Global Books - The Library subscribes to several collections of Info-Sci books from IGI Global. They are peer-reviewed. To learn more about their peer-review process and view their video, see this page.
Lastly, you may want to explore titles available from the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB). One of the requirements for taking part in DOAB is the books must be subjected to independent and external peer review prior to publication. Additionally, the policies and procedures regarding peer review and licensing have to be clearly outlined on the publisher web site. More information about these requirements can be found in the Statement on Open Access (Appendix II of the OASPA bylaws).
If you are still unsure whether the book you would like to use is considered academic, please refer to our Academic and Popular Resources page which provides a list of common characteristics for determining scholarly resources including academic books.
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