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Databases are owned by a few different companies, and the library pays for access to make relevant sources available for your research. The journals in these databases are rarely available for free on the open web. Journals can be scholarly, which means they are academic in nature and may be peer-reviewed. Peer-reviewed articles go through a rigorous publishing process: they are written by an academic, submitted to the journal, and then circulated to experts in the field for checking before being published.