Wikipedia says that New Scientist publishes articles which are not peer-reviewed.

But I found no information about "Scientific American" (SciAm) and "Popular Science" (PopSci).

  • 6
    The question in the title (Are these journals peer reviewed?) is different to the one in the body of your question (Is there an algorithm to find out if they are reviewed?). Can you clarify which you are asking? Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 11:54
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    Why should they? They don't publish research papers.
    – Walter
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 14:59
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    "Journal" doesn't even seem to be the appropriate word. As SciAm's website states, they're a magazine, not a journal.
    – JAB
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 16:10
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    Are these journals? I don't think so.
    – MPW
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 21:35
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    Where exactly does WP say that about New Scientist? (I couldn't find it in the article). And how do they word it? Worded like you do, it almost seems that any paper sent in is published, without even having a look at it.
    – DaG
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 22:01

3 Answers 3


From the Scientific American website:

Generally speaking, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN presents ideas that have already been published in the peer-reviewed technical literature. We do not publish new theories or results of original research.

Please allow six to eight weeks for the review process.

From this and other submission instructions on that page I conclude that the manuscripts undergo a general review that is probably aimed at accuracy and style, which is different than typical scientific peer-review of original research.

No scientific peer-review is mentioned in the relevant page on the Popular Science website either.

  • 33
    It's review in the sense of editorial review, not peer review, in other words.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 15:50

Neither journal is a peer-reviewed scientific journal, both are popular science journals. So (1) they don't publish original research and (2) the aim of the review process is completely different. In particular, reviewing is done to ensure that the article is suitable for the scientifically minded public, i.e. avoids complicated math and difficult terminology, but hardly to scrutinize correctness (or even originality).

  • 3
    Re: #2: Peer-reviewed journals also typically referee to ensure that the article is suitable for the intended audience. It's just that their intended audience is different.
    – ruakh
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 1:51
  • @Makyen Yes, that was a slip of the pen. I have changed "refereeing" to "reviewing". Thanks.
    – Walter
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 9:05

These are not academic journals, but magazines which report on stories of interest to the public. They source their stories from peer-reviewed academic papers from various journals.

That is, they are not the primary place of publication or the original paper for any of the research presented within; they are simply reporting on research published first elsewhere.

So. Is the research they cover peer-reviewed? By and large, yes. But it has been peer-reviewed elsewhere, in another form - and has been reported on by a journalist specialising in science, who did not write the original publication or do the experimentation themself but is seeking to expose it to a larger audience.

You are given the opportunity to consult the original publication; each story that originates from a scientific publication should cite its source.

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