Distinguishing Academic Journals from Periodicals

Key Difference – Academic Journal vs Periodical

While there is sometimes confusion between academic journals and periodicals, it’s important to understand the differences between the two. An academic journal is a publication of academic articles focused on a specific discipline, whereas a periodical is a magazine published at regular intervals. The main difference between them is that academic journals are written for a specialized audience of experts or specialists in a discipline, while periodicals are not necessarily written for a specific audience.

What is an Academic Journal?

Academic journals are publications that focus on academic articles within a specific discipline. They are primarily used to present new research within that discipline. Though academic journals can also be considered periodicals since they are published periodically, they differ from general periodicals because they are not written for a general audience. Instead, academic journals are intended for a specific group of people, such as experts in a particular discipline or scholars. As a result, academic journals are often referred to as scholarly journals.

These journals typically contain articles written in expert jargon, featuring references, insights into new findings, research, and reviews. Academic journals can be found for most disciplines, both in the natural and social sciences.

What is a Periodical?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a periodical is defined as a magazine published at regular intervals. The term “periodical” is used because the publication occurs periodically, such as weekly, monthly, or annually. Newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and scholarly journals all fall under the category of periodicals. Periodicals can be written for either a general audience or for specialists, depending on the specific publication. When a periodical is written for specialists or academics, it is considered an academic journal.

Periodicals can be valuable resources, providing readers with information on specific topics without having to search through numerous books. Additionally, newspapers as periodicals offer readers up-to-date information on recent events. Researchers often prefer periodicals to books because they offer relevant, current information and have a more direct focus. For example, a periodical may be more concise and specific than a book when discussing a topic such as refugee children.

What is the Difference Between Academic Journal and Periodical?

  • Academic Journal: An academic journal refers to a publication of academic articles of a particular discipline.
  • Periodical: A periodical refers to a magazine published at regular intervals.

Characteristics of Academic Journal and Periodical:

  • Audience:
    • Academic Journal: Academic journals are written for a particular audience.
    • Periodical: Periodicals are written for a general audience.
  • Purpose:
    • Academic Journal: Academic journals are written to present new research.
    • Periodical: Periodicals are written to provide information.
  • Content:
    • Academic Journal: Academic journals include research summaries, reviews, etc.
    • Periodical: Periodicals include opinions, stories, news.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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