Evaluating the source of scientific information
I will be examining the source Levin, M., Jasperse, L., Desforges, J.-P., O’Hara, T., Rea, L., Castellini, J.M., Maniscalco, J.M., Fadely, B., and M. Keogh. 2020. Methyl mercury (MeHg) in vitro exposure alters mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine expression in Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) pups. Science of The Total Environment 725: 138308. doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138308. Based on the “How to evaluate sources of scientific information tutorial”, this source is categorized as academic, peer-reviewed research material. This decision was determined based on the following qualifiers. First, the article is written by experts in their field who are affiliated with institutions and are paid to research or have published in the field previously. As shown in Figure 1, all the authors are affiliated with an institution.
The article includes in-text citations and a bibliography with approximately 51 sources, which indicates that it is academic material. The source has been peer reviewed, which has been implied by the fact that the article was received by the publisher, revised and resubmitted, and then published (shown in Figure 2). Moreover, as per the journal’s policy, Science of The Total Environment has a peer review process, which is laid out for their authors here (https://www.elsevier.com/journals/science-of-the-total-environment/0048-9697/guide-for-authors). In short, the journal requires a single blind review process—where the authors do not know who the reviewers are—in which after being checked for suitability by an editor, two independent expert reviewers are called upon to review the paper.
Next, the source reports the results of a lab study completed by the author and contains both Methods and Results sections, which indicates that it is a research study (as opposed to review material). Therefore, this source can be categorized as academic, peer-reviewed research material.