21.353 European Reference Index for the Humanities

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2007 09:22:27 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 21, No. 353.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2007 09:14:28 +0000
         From: Edward Vanhoutte <edward.vanhoutte_at_kantl.be>
         Subject: European Reference Index for the Humanities

Dear all,

Some time ago, the European Science Foundation (ESF) published its
European Reference Index for the Humanities [1]:

The use of this list is defined as follows;

'The ERIH lists will help to identify excellence in Humanities
scholarship and should prove useful for the aggregate benchmarking of
national research systems, for example, in determining the
international standing of the research activity carried out in a
given field in a particular country. However, as they stand, the
lists are not a bibliometric tool. The ERIH Steering Committee and
the Expert Panels therefore advise against using the lists as the
only basis for assessment of individual candidates for positions or
promotions or of applicants for research grants.'

However, we all know, and it is admitted informally by members of the
reviewing panel, that the list will be considered a major reference
tool for bibliometric purposes in research assessment, especially
because the three humanities computing journals (LLC, Chum, Text
Technology) don't appear in the ISI web of knowledge [2] which is the
standard bibliometric tool in research assesment in Belgium, for instance.

The journals:

- Literary and Linguistic Computing
- Computers and the Humanities
- Text Technology

Appear in the list of the Linguistics journals [3] (there is no list
for literature journals) and they are all identified with a 'B'
label. This means, according to the Guidelines [4] :

"standard international publications with a good reputation among
researchers of the field in different countries."

A-label journals, however, are considered to be:

"high-ranking international publications with a very strong
reputation among researchers of the field in different countries,
regularly cited all over the world."

Although "Humanities Computing" is recognized as a research area in
the Humanities by the ESF [5], these journals are assessed from the
perspective of the discipline of linguistics only, which defines 'the
field'. From this perspective, the assesment is probably right. If,
however, Humanities Computing would have been considered a discipline
in its own right, the journals would no doubt have received an 'A'
status for the simple reason that they are the high-ranking
international publications with a good reputation among researchers
of Humanities Computing in different countries. This shows once more
the political and societal (and economical) need for a disciplinary
debate and definition as prodded by, a.o., Willard McCarty and myself
over the last couple of years.

Procedures for feedback to the ERIH initial list 'to enable
researchers and publishers to provide input for consideration at the
first update (in 2008)' have been released.[6]

If we consider our journals to be worthy of an A-label, and if we
want to include other peer-reviewed publications in our field such as
DHQ and HumanIT, to name just these two, I think there is an
opportunity to take action in the feedback procedure.

Matter for discussion?



[2] <http://scientific.thomson.com/index.html>


[5] <http://www.esf.org/research-areas/humanities.html>
[6] http://www2.esf.org/asp/form/sch/erih/index.asp

Edward Vanhoutte
Centrum voor Teksteditie en Bronnenstudie - CTB (KANTL)
Centre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies
Associate Editor LLC. The Journal of Digital Scholarship in the Humanities
Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde
Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature
Koningstraat 18 / b-9000 Gent / Belgium
tel: +32 9 265 93 51 / fax: +32 9 265 93 49
edward dot vanhoutte at kantl dot be
Received on Sat Nov 17 2007 - 04:36:51 EST

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