Most of the time when people refer to scholarly sources, they're referring to a certain type of articles.
Scholarly articles--which are also called peer-reviewed, refereed, or academic articles--are considered the most reliable information sources.
Scholarly articles are:
Primary Articles: In the sciences, research articles are also called "Primary Articles".
|Criteria||Scholarly (Primary) Journal||Popular (secondary) Magazine|
|Audience||Academics and professionals||General Public|
|Authors||Experts or specialists in the field. Unpaid||Paid authors|
|Review process||Peer review process. Unpaid.||Professional editors. Paid|
|Content||Research published by the researchers. Written for experts in the field: not easy to read.||Research summarized in a newspaper or magazine. Easy to read.|
Source: NCSU Libraries
Open access (OA) refers to freely available, digital, online information. Open access scholarly literature is free to access, which makes it available to anyone with an internet connection.
While OA is a newer form of scholarly publishing, many but not all OA journals have a peer-review process.
Note: Some Open Access articles are "Preprints", meaning that the article has not gone through the peer review process
Not all articles that are marked as "peer reviewed" in the library databases are scholarly, so you will need to be able to identify one:
Avoiding Crap on the web: the C.R.A.P. test: