Academic Peer-Reviewed Journal or Current Affairs Magazine? Which Type of Journal is Right for You?

When many people contact us with the idea of starting a journal, the first questions we ask are: What type of journal do you plan to start? An academic journal or a current/popular magazine?

The typical response we receive is, “What’s the difference between the two?” In this article, we aim to answer these questions in detail.

Starting a journal is a creative and exciting venture. However, one of the most crucial decisions in this process is determining the type of journal you want to establish. Deciding whether to start an academic peer-reviewed journal or a current/popular magazine will directly impact your target audience, content, and publication process. In this article, we will explore the differences between academic peer-reviewed journals and current/popular magazines, providing you with the information and a checklist to help determine which type of journal is more suitable for you. This way, you can make an informed and strategic choice while establishing your journal.

What is an Academic Peer-Reviewed Journal? An academic peer-reviewed journal publishes original research articles, review papers, and scientific analyses related to a specific academic discipline or scientific field. Articles to be published in such journals undergo a rigorous review process by expert editors and independent referees. Peer review is conducted to assess the quality, originality, and scientific contribution of the work.


  • Peer Review: Articles usually go through a double-blind review process (the author and reviewers do not know each other’s identities).
  • Scientific Contribution: Articles are written to provide new information or understanding.
  • Academic Authors: Authors are typically university faculty members, researchers, and academics.
  • Referencing: Articles include comprehensive literature reviews and references.
  • Publication Period: Usually regular (e.g., quarterly, biannually) and follows a specific schedule.

What is a Current Affairs Magazine? A current or popular magazine features articles that appeal to a broad readership, often focusing on specific areas (fashion, health, technology, art, etc.) or general interest topics. The content of such magazines primarily addresses current events, trends, and popular subjects.


  • Editorial Review: Articles are typically reviewed by editors, but do not undergo peer review.
  • Popular Content: Articles focus on topics that appeal to a broad audience.
  • Various Authors: Authors can include journalists, freelance writers, and subject matter experts.
  • Accessible Language: Articles are written in clear and understandable language for the general readership.
  • Flexible Publication Period: The publication period can be more frequent (e.g., weekly, monthly) and content is usually updated quickly.

Checklist to Help Choose the Type of Journal The following checklist can help you determine which type of journal is more suitable for you. You can evaluate by marking the features below.


  • Target Audience:
    • Academics, researchers, and experts.
    • Broad readership and the general public.
  • Content Type:
    • Original research articles and scientific reviews.
    • Current events, popular topics, and trends.
  • Author Profile:
    • University faculty members, researchers, academics.
    • Journalists, freelance writers, subject experts.
  • Review Process:
    • Peer review.
    • Editorial review.
  • Language and Style:
    • Technical, scientific, and complex language.
    • Clear, understandable, and accessible language.
  • Publication Frequency:
    • Regular periods (e.g., quarterly).
    • More frequent (e.g., weekly or monthly).
  • References and Sources:
    • Comprehensive literature reviews and references.
    • Fewer references, general information.

Evaluation Results: If most of the items in the checklist align with “academic” characteristics, it may be more suitable for you to start an academic peer-reviewed journal. If most of the items align with “current/popular” characteristics, starting a current/popular magazine might be more appropriate.

In light of this information, you can determine which type of journal aligns better with your goals and resources, and plan your journal establishment process accordingly.

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