The University of Newcastle, Australia

Home grown Historical Encounters journal achieves Q1 ranking

Friday, 7 August 2020

The independent journal Historical Encounters, led by Acting Head of the School of Education, Associate Professor Robert Parkes (as Editor-in-Chief) and published by the University of Newcastle’s History Education Research Network (HERMES) has recently achieved an outstanding milestone with a Q1 ranking in the Scimago Journal Rankings.

Historical encounters journal

Historical Encounters is a double-blind peer-reviewed, open access, interdisciplinary journal dedicated to the empirical and theoretical study of historical consciousness, historical cultures, and history education.

Since being launched in 2014 the journal has published a stunning array of articles from academics all over the English-speaking world, as well as a significant number of contributions from European and Scandinavian scholars in the fields of public history, history didactics, curriculum & pedagogy studies, cultural studies, narrative theory, and historical theory.

Having risen through the rankings over the previous years, reaching the number Q2 ranking in 2019, Historical Encounters has now achieved the pinnacle of the Scimago rankings which are considered to be highly reputable in the field of history and the social sciences.

“I’m thrilled with the ranking in Scimago as well as the fact that our journal has been indexed in Scopus since 2017 with the citation ‘the journal publishes articles that are extremely well cited, which indicates its importance in the research field’. What’s interesting is that there is only one other history education journal that has that ranking and Historical Encounters is ranked in the broader field of history rather than history education. That’s a significant recognition of our achievement and the efforts of our HERMES editorial team who volunteer their time on the journal,” Associate Professor Parkes said.

It was during a sabbatical at Umeå University in Sweden in 2013 that Associate Professor Parkes formed the idea for the journal, having found a lack of journals addressing the concepts of historical consciousness and historical culture that had become central to the history education research field.

From the Historical Encounters journal:

Historical cultures (the English equivalent of the German term Geschichtskultur which literally translates "history culture", refers to the effective and affective relationship that a human group has with its own past; the agents who create and transform it; the oral, print, visual, dramatic, and interactive media representations through which it is lived, and by which it is disseminated; the personal, social, commercial, and political uses to which it is put; and the processes of reception that shape encounters with it).

“The concept of historical culture, or history culture as it is more accurately translated, appeared to be widely used in the German speaking world, and was coupled with an understanding that history educators in schools should also be considered to be public historians,” Robert said.

“This is in comparison to the English-speaking world where we commonly consider public historians to be non-academic authors of popular books on history, family historians, curators of historical museum exhibits, or historical film or documentary writers and directors. The concept of history teachers being public historians resonated with me as I believe school is a significant site both for the production and interrogation of public history, so I decided to form a journal that would address public history in a space where school education is part of the broader historical debate.”

The editorial board is made up of 50 highly respected academics worldwide in the field of history education, with the members of the History Education Research Network (HERMES) working alongside Robert in the editorial team. Associate Professor Heather Sharp is the Special Issues Editor and Dr Debra Donnelly is the Articles Editor, while doctoral student Melanie Innes has the important function of Journal Manager.

A significant feature of the journal is that it is open access and charges no publishing fees, and also allows scholars to retain the copyright of their articles.

“This is a direct intervention into the typical publishing arena which I feel often exploits academic labour,” Robert said. “I built the journal from scratch using the Open Journal Systems software released by the University of British Columbia and have made it free for academics to publish in the journal and for anyone to access it. Our authors retain copyright and they can republish their material anywhere they like as long as they note that it was first published in Historical Encounters,” Associate Professor Parkes said.

The publishing team is also open to submissions from PhD students and early career researchers.

“Our aim is to publish quality material produced by academics of all levels; and we do like to support scholars who are starting their careers to fine-tune and publish their first articles.”

You can find the Historical Encounters journal at http://hej.hermes-history.net/


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