Other initiatives

QRiH is based in part on lessons learned and methods developed in the course of other initiatives addressing quality and relevance in the humanities. They are VABB-SHW (Flanders), CRIStin (Norway), and the EU’s ERIH PLUS.

Some aspects of these initiatives have proved useful for QRiH. Examples include designating journals and publishers as communication channels with their own methods of monitoring the quality of publications, and working with panels.


QRiH differs from these initiatives on a number of points

  • There is no direct relationship with research funding.
  • The Web of Science does not serve as a criterion for quality (the reasons are given here)
  •  QRiH differentiates between the target groups of publications.
  • Composition of the panels is based on the way the humanities are organised in the Netherlands.
  • The QRiH system aims to cover as many typical forms of output in the humanities as possible.


The Flemish and Norwegian systems are tied to research funding (budget allocation). Research groups are allocated some of their funding based on their scores in these systems.  The ERiHPLUS system is not tied to research funding.



VABB-SHW is the Flemish Academic Bibliographic Database for Social Sciences and Humanities.  The database lists titles and publishers assessed by the Flemish Authorisation Panel (GP). The GP bases its assessment on the output produced by all social science and humanities researchers in Flanders over the past ten years. The database is updated annually.  

The GP authorises a journal if

  1. it has a peer review procedure
  2. it has a valid ISSN number

An article in such a journal qualifies if it is at least four pages long.

The scores depend on the journal’s inclusion in the Web of Science (WoS, formerly ISI). The highest score (ISI-a) is awarded to journals that were included in WoS for the entire period. Lower scores (ISI-b to ISI-d) are awarded to journals with a weaker presence in WoS (not a ‘source’ journal for WoS), and the lowest score (ISSN) is reserved for journals that are not reported in WoS. The VABB database of journals contains more than 11,000 titles.

The GP authorises publishers if they satisfy the Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content (GPRC) criterion. This means that the relevant book must appear on a publisher’s list that is peer reviewed and has an academic editorial board. Separate book titles can also be submitted to the GP for consideration. The GPRC label applies to books (monographs, proceedings and edited volumes).

For more information, see VABB-SHW



Like the VABB-SHW, the Current Research Information System in Norway (CRIStin) documents the total actual output of researchers in Norway. Unlike its Flemish counterpart, however, it covers all domains and disciplines. The system’s working methods and outputs are also used in Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and Finland, in each case based on the country’s own university publications databases.

The Norwegian system accepts a range of publication channels (such as websites), but the main focus is on journals, book publishers, publication series and similar. The system differentiates between level 1 and level 2.

Level 1 is the lower level; to qualify, the publication channel must be peer reviewed. To qualify for level 2, the upper level, the channel must be an internationally prestigious, broad channel of communication for academics in the relevant subject area (specialist journals are not eligible)[1].

Expert panels nominate publications for selection. Journals that appear in WoS (ISI journals) are virtually guaranteed level-2 nomination and selection. Other nominations depend on the expert panel’s decisions; in questionable cases, the main publication committee decides. Level-2 publications must not exceed 20% of the total number of publications in a particular channel in each subject area. Calculation of this percentage is based on the Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers (maintained by the Norwegian Centre for Research Data or NSD). The 20% standard is meant to be indicative, but there have been recent attempts to apply it more strictly.

National journals can also qualify as level-2 publications. The system excludes journals regarded as ‘local’, i.e. if more than two thirds of its authors are affiliated with one and the same institution.

Publishers nominated by expert panels can also be included. Once again, they qualify if they are an internationally prestigious, broad channel of communication for academics in the relevant subject area.

System maintenance has now been entrusted to the Norwegian Centre for Research Data (NSD)

For more information, see:


Norwegian Centre for Research Data



ERiH PLUS is an EU initiative. It originally focused on selecting journals in the humanities, and has now been extended to journals in the social sciences. Selected journals must have an ISSN and adhere to an external peer review editorial policy; in addition, the majority of their authors should not be affiliated with one and the same institution (also see CRIStin). Journals are added to the list when nominated by researchers, rather than publishers. The database is maintained by the Norwegian Centre for Research Data (NSD, see foregoing).

ERiH+ does not cover books (monographs), edited volumes or proceedings.

For more information, see:



[1] According to this standard, a journal that an expert panel regards as excellent but that focuses on only a small segment of the subject area may be designated as a level-1 publication but should not be advanced to level 2. The Norwegian instructions do not offer much clarity in this respect.