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What is Primary Literature?

In the field of biology, primary literature is the publication of information that is original research. In other words, this is the first (or primary) place this information is available to readers. In the sciences, peer-reviewed original research is of special interest because of the rigorous standards that accepted articles must meet in order to be published.

Examples or other terms for primary literature include: scientific paper, research article, journal article, scholarly article, book, monograph (essentially a long journal article), dissertation or thesis, proceedings (published record of a conference), government document, report, notebook, journal, photograph, or database

Resources for Finding Original Research

Journal and Scholarly Articles

  • Scopus
  • Web of Science
  • PubMed
  • ScienceDirect
  • BioOne Complete


Anatomy of a Research Article​