Guidelines for Broadening the Definition of Historical Scholarship | Perspectives on History | AHA

“n January 5, 2023, the AHA Council approved the Guidelines for Broadening the Definition of Historical Scholarship. In most history departments, “scholarship” has traditionally and primarily encompassed books, journal articles and book chapters, and papers presented at conferences. The weight and significance of each of these vary considerably by institution. The most valued coin of the realm remains not just the book—especially for early and midcareer scholars—but a particular kind of book known only in academia and scholarly publishing as a “monograph.” Yet many other categories of books don’t count: textbooks, official histories, anthologies, translations and critical editions, reference books, and more. These have not been deemed to be “creating new knowledge.” …

The AHA Council has decided that it is time to map a broader terrain of scholarship, with more flexible boundaries. There are many ways to be a historian, many ways to do historical work….

This recommendation and the guidelines that follow rest on four pillars:

A wide range of scholarly historical work can be undertaken in ways consistent with our disciplinary standards and values, from writing briefing papers and op-eds, to testifying in legislatures and courts, participating in the work of regulatory agencies, publishing textbooks and reference books, expanding our media presence across a wide range of platforms, and more.
To support such publicly engaged and/or policy-oriented work, history departments should give it appropriate scholarly credit in personnel decisions. Not doing so diminishes the public impact of historians and cedes to others—observers less steeped in our discipline-specific methods, epistemologies, and standards—the podium from which to shape the historical framing of vital public conversations.
Historians cannot expect decision makers or other potential audiences to appreciate the value of our work if we don’t affirm its value ourselves.
All historical work can be peer-reviewed, whether before or after publication….”


AHA Expresses Concerns about Potential Impact of Plan S on the Humanities | AHA

Plan S, however, as applied to the humanities, is likely to limit scholarly discourse, even close some doors. Its underlying assumptions and hence its path forward ignore significant differences among various disciplines in the realm of funding and publishing scholarship. Plan S, akin to much open access policy, assumes that all academic publishing has the same imperatives and exigencies as research in the biomedical and physical sciences. There are, however, important differences, including funding models, time value of research, and the structures and cultures of scholarly publishing.

The American Historical Association joins our colleagues in other humanities disciplines in explaining how the Plan S bias toward article processing charge (APC)-funded “gold” journals will essentially close them off from the wider community of scholars….

While we have worked to make access available to international readers, we worry about excluding international authors. Many of the most significant and high impact journals in the humanities are published outside of Plan S countries. Plan S-funded humanities scholars will be unable to choose the highest prestige journals because of the expectations of immediate open access and the ban on publishing in hybrid journals. This will exclude scholars from Coalition S countries from being a part of vital international exchanges and scholarship, and severely limit their ability to build international reputations….”