Journals, a subset of what we call periodicals or serials, are the most significant type of primary literature. The peer review process, by which articles are evaluated prior to publication, gives these journals unique status and legitimacy among the primary literature formats. Although newspapers and magazines are also periodicals, they are published for a broader and more popular audience and are not peer-reviewed. In addition, their content is often secondary literature, i.e. about the research of others rather than the original reports. The scholarly journals are the major focus of the library literacy section of BI107/BI108.
Nature and Science contain both primary and secondary literature. Use the table of contents in these journals to identify primary and secondary literature.
Most influential journals dealing with multiple levels of biological activity
Review Articles are a type of secondary literature because they summarize and point to the primary literature very soon after it has appeared. They are excellent background material, because they pull together all the latest research on a topic. Annual volumes devoted entirely to review articles, such as the titles below, are available in most disciplines. To search for review articles included in journals, add "review" to your keywords.