Academic journals (sometimes called peer-reviewed, scholarly or refereed journals) are publications that focus on publishing research or scholarship of interest to a particular discipline.
Academic journals employ a system of quality control called peer review. This system relies heavily on the participation of volunteers. Scholars who publish in academic journals are usually not paid for their submissions; for these authors the professional benefit they get from publishing in a prestigious journal is its own reward. In addition, scholars voluntarily take on the work of peer-reviewing submitted articles.
The idea of academic disciplines (or knowledge communities) is central to understanding the purpose of the academic journal.