Finding scientific information: Journals and articles

Journals and articles

Scientific journals have an evaluation practice (peer review, referee) in place, whereby the text intended for publication is evaluated by at least one external party familiar with the field.

To check if a journal is scientific (scholarly, academic) or peer-reviewed/refereed visit

  • the web page of the publication; not always reliable
  • Publication Forum
  • databases like DOAJ, Web of Science, Scopus, Medline which have only or mostly peer-reviewed journals
  • databases like Ebsco and ProQuest which allow you to limit your search to peer reviewed journals.

Peer review

Peer review is a way of evaluating and assuring the quality of research before it is published. It involves critical evaluation by independent experts (peers) usually anonymously. The reviewers are usually appointed by the editors of a journal to which the work has been submitted.

There are several types of articles in scientific journals. Usually peer reviewed are:

Journal article, original research publishes full reports of data from research. It includes full Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections.

Review article, literature review, systematic review provides a comprehensive summary of research on a certain topic as well as a perspective on the state of the field and where it is heading:

  • literature review examines recent or current literature
  • systematic review, where for example the information search is presented and the material or data is closely scrutinized
  • meta-analysis statistically combines the results of quantitative studies.

Some manuscripts such as letters, editorials, commentaries, book reviews etc. may go through a fast-track editorial review process, not peer-review, for speedy publication.

Finding subject specific articles

Subject guides contain subject specific information sources and tools for searching scientific information and assessing the research.

Finding articles in Oula-Finna

Search for an article title in Oula-Finna.

  • If the article is published in an international journal, go to the E-materials tab.
  • If the article is published in a Finnish journal, go to the Finnish articles tab.

Links in Oula-Finna grant you access to the full text electronic version of an article. If there is no link, search for a journal title in Oula-Finna Books, journals, databases etc.

Finding journals in Oula-Finna 

Search for a journal title in Oula-Finna. Journals may be printed or be available online. 

Finnish journals are located in the Oulu University Library Legal Deposit Archive where the customers may borrow them for reading room use in the library.

If the journal can't be found, go to the National Repository Library tab and check the availability of the journal in the National Repository Library. Customers can request article copies free of charge..

You may also try the nationwide The content included in any organisation-specific site is usually limited to the material of the organisation in question. The interlibrary loan service searches and orders publications for loan and photocopies of publications.

Also remember to check the municipal libraries e.g. Outi libraries.

Finding articles in Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. When you find an interesting article through Google Scholar, you can access it if the University of Oulu has access rights to the publication mentioned or it is openly available in some other way.

Haka Login

Log in with your University of Oulu user ID for off-campus access to electronic resources.


Tools for finding articles


All the printed and electronic resources available at Oulu University Library. When you log into Oula with your University of Oulu user ID (Haka Login), you have access to the electronic resources also from outside the University of Oulu Network.

Google Scholar

A web search engine for scientific information. When you log in with your University of Oulu user ID, you have access to the licensed electronic resources also from outside the University of Oulu Network. Google Scholar quick guide | More information

Alternative access to articles

Useful tips on how to access a scholarly article when the organisation does not have a valid licence agreement for the journal.

Evaluating articles and journals

When evaluating an article, attention should be paid to the identity of the writer and to the journal. One should also evaluate the objectivity of the text and the amount and quality of references used.

More information on evaluating articles

Received citations

In addition, one could evaluate an article based on the amount of citations it has received.

Citing articles can be found in databases Ebsco and ProQuest as well as Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar.

More information on citation analysis

Evaluating journals

The amount of citations the journal's articles have had acts as the measure of the popularity and influence of the journal. All indicators of impact are calculated by dividing the amount of times the articles have been cited from a certain journal by the amount of articles published in the journal.

The most prevalent ranking system is Journal Impact factor (IF) which is based on Web of Science data.

More information on evaluating journals

Publication Forum (Julkaisufoorumi, Jufo)

The Finnish Publication Forum is based on quality classification of scientific publications. The rating takes place in field specific expert panels. The rating of domestic and international scientific peer-reviewed journals has three levels: 1 = basic; 2 = leading; 3 = highest level.

The purpose of the Publication Forum is not to list all existing publications, but only those academic channels that are relevant to the Finnish scientific community. Level 0 includes publications of varying quality, from professional journals and suspicious open access journals to university publication series.

Tools for evaluation

The Publication Forum (Jufo)

In the Publication Forum you can search for journals, publication series and book publishers that have a Publication Forum classification. The rating has three levels: 1 = basic; 2 = leading; 3 = top.

Journal Citation Reports (JCR)

Journal Impact Factors (IF) for journals included in the Web of Science database are published in Journal Citation Reports. More information about JCR | More information about Impact Factor