A couple of simple questions:

  1. Books are not peer reviewed in general. Are book reviews that appear in academic journals peer-reviewed? Since they represent personal opinions, I would think they cannot be peer reviewed.

  2. What about news articles? For example, journal Nature has various short news focus and research highlights that discuss other peer-reviewed research articles in a broader perspective. Are those peer-reviewed? Due to time pressure, I would think it would be difficult to peer review these in time.

2 Answers 2


Book reviews, opinion pieces, and news articles are generally not peer reviewed. That's not to say there's no review at all: editors read and approve these contributions, and they may request changes before publication if they feel it is necessary. It's even possible that an editor would ask for an opinion from a third party. However, peer review (by an external expert) is not a standard practice for these sorts of articles.

Books are not peer reviewed in general.

Books can be an intermediate case. Acquisitions editors often solicit external reviews of book proposals or manuscripts, to decide which ones to accept and how they should be revised. However, you are right that the level of review is generally not as comprehensive or detailed as it is for journal articles.


It depends entirely on what you mean by peer review. Using Australia's Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) criteria for the collection of publication information, peer review amounts to substantial review by appropriate experts. Books are either reviewed by proxy by commercial publication in this research data collection scheme, reliant on the habit of scholarly monographs being sent out for readers and scholarly collections being edited by the book's editors, or they have to be explicitly peer reviewed if published in an electronic only format. The quality of review of monographs varies considerably from field to field and from publishing house to publishing house. It matters quite a great deal for my discipline as my discipline is monograph driven.

Book reviews are sometimes peer reviewed. Book reviews of more than one work which advance original scholarly arguments are regularly peer reviewed in my domain (HASS: Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences; the converse of STEM). These reviews contribute either a critical reflection on current practice, or they contribute a substantive account of the field (literature review / review article / field review). HERDC recognises this to the extent that reviews of more than one work which otherwise meet the criteria of a journal article (contribution to scholarly knowledge, peer review) are accepted as full journal articles.

Some news articles in journals formally meet the standard for peer review of HERDC, but fail other criteria, such as an original contribution to scholarly knowledge.


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