While doing some research I found some context where scientist A publishes a research article about newly generated progress they made in a field. Another researcher B, skeptical of this paper, publishes a "Review paper", and analyses what A has written. To which then A responds by writing an article titled as "Research commentary" to retort on the latter.

Throughout this development is where I had the question hit me, how many kinds of scientific articles are there? I am personally still on my first year of PhD research, so I have not yet published a paper or had to confront a journal, but I was still surprised to not see an exhaustive answer to this question here or anywhere else, to which I believe would be really beneficial to sorting and understanding articles and giving more context to state of the art research in any specific field.

  • Do some research and publish it - maybe it could be the seminal paper of the decade...
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 1, 2018 at 5:18
  • 5
    I don't think such exhaustive categorisation would be terribly helpful. Note that the names given to "types" of paper are not defined worldwide, but depend on the journal or publisher.
    – Flyto
    Aug 8, 2018 at 12:49
  • 2
    Different fields (and even subfields) have different conventions; it may be helpful to specify which field you are interested in.
    – cag51
    Aug 8, 2018 at 23:33
  • Requests for lists are "shopping questions" and off-topic. In this case the list would be quite long. Jan 4, 2021 at 12:42
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    And to add: I think you are misunderstanding what a review paper is supposed to be. A review is not there to rebut a specific paper your are skeptical of, but to summarize (or review) a specific topic based on published literature. Jan 4, 2021 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


There is probably no exhaustive taxonomy. The options depend on the database. Databases of scientific publications usually contain the variable 'document type' (or so) in their metadata, and have a wide range of options for operationalising that type.

For example, Web of Science lists their document types here. They include, inter alia, 'Article', 'Biographical Item', 'Correction', 'Database Review', 'Excerpt', 'Hardware Review', 'Music Score', 'Reprint', and 'Retraction'.

Scopus has a smaller list; you can see its document types in this PDF on pp. 11-12.

ORCID likewise allows you to choose from many options regarding the 'work types'; see the list here. They include, to name some examples, 'book-chapter', 'dictionary-entry', 'dissertation', 'encyclopedia-entry', 'edited-book', 'journal-issue', 'manual', 'newsletter-article', 'supervised-student-pulication', 'translation' and 'working-papers'.

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