Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

How to Write and Publish a Scientific Article: Choose a type of journal article

The research article

A research article presents original research results. This is the type of article that is often written by researchers.

A research article published in a scholarly journal is generally peer-reviewed by reviewers appointed by the editorial board of that journal. Here is an example of a research article.

Articles may be shorter or longer. Indeed, some journals specialize in the dissemination of short articles (letters, brief communications, short reports) that report on important discoveries before they are the subject of more detailed articles to be published later (e.g., Optics Letters, Optimization Letters, etc.).

Moreover, research articles can be subdivided into subcategories, depending on the approach on the treatment of the information chosen in the article. Although the terminology describing these subcategories is not consistent, research articles can be:

  • Experimental articles;
  • Theoretical articles;
  • Data Papers, etc.

The review article

Unlike a research paper, a review article does not present new advances, but rather provides a state of the art on a selected topic, while still being an original paper.

A review article is a critical assessment of research developments in a specialized field and contains numerous bibliographic references. Here is an example of a review article.

In his book Comprendre et maîtriser la littérature scientifique (Understanding and mastering scientific literature) Bernard Pochet presents, in a clear manner, what a review article is.

Because it is a summary, a review article is generally more cited than a research article.

Several terms can be used to designate a review article. Here are a few examples:

In English:
  • State of the art
  • Literature review
  • Review
  • Advances in...
  • Progress in...
  • Current topics in...
  • Yearbook of...
  • Outlook
  • Synthesis
  • Critical survey
  • Comprehensive survey

In French:

  • État de l'art
  • Recension des écrits
  • Revue de littérature

The Guide for Authors, your ally!

The Guide for Authors, usually available on the journal's website, describes the types of articles published by the journal and their particularities. Sometimes, this information is available elsewhere on the journal's website, for example in the editorial policy, the journal's mission statement, the About Us section, etc.

For example, Biomaterials's Guide for Authors states that this Elsevier journal publishes three types of articles:

  1. Original Research;
  2. Review;
  3. Leading Opinion Paper.