Economic and Social History research culture


Economic and Social History differs from the broader field of history in its strong emphasis on empiricism, its distinct quantitative component, and the fact that it is inspired by approaches in the social sciences. It seeks interdisciplinary engagement with other domains, for example economics, sociology and anthropology, with the medical domain, for example epidemiology, or with domains that are themselves interdisciplinary in nature, such as cultural studies. Economic and Social History actively maintains links with these domains. The research culture therefore displays both domain-specific features and strong ties with other domains. The N.W. Posthumus Institute (NWP), a research school, functions as the national network for researchers and PhD students.


Target groups

  • Economic and Social History has close ties with national societies and cultures and with scholars in other countries. Many publications focus on the Dutch public and on professionals both within and outside academia.
  • On the other hand, the communication pattern in Economic and Social History tends to resemble that of the social sciences. That means that communication emphasises peers in the domain and that researchers often cooperate with other disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.


Products and communication

  • Journal publications are the most important form of communication in those areas of specialisation that lean towards the social sciences, for example Economic History, Historical Demography and History of Technology, although researchers also publish monographs. In terms of numbers, essays in edited volumes and journal articles are important.
  • Monographs are the most prestigious products in Social History, either scholarly works published by a recognised academic publisher or as ‘hybrid’ book publications (if successful) focusing on both academic and non-academic readers.
  • Other important communication channels are edited volumes and proceedings on interrelated themes addressing peers.
  • Journal publications increasingly target an international readership. The most important titles among the many journals being published are those meant to communicate with peers in subdomains or subdisciplines.
  • Other products and forms of communication include book reviews and the development and maintenance of large-scale databases.
  • Review processes are very important to publishing in the domain, including the publication of books and edited volumes, and may consist of standard (anonymised) peer reviews or of strict editorial review procedures.


Processes and strategies

  • Monographs intended for international publishers require several years of work and are generally only feasible at a later stage of a researcher’s career.
  • Hybrid publications are regularly accompanied by lectures and appearances before scholarly, professional and general audiences, radio and television appearances and blogging (on the web).
  • Single-authorship is the dominant form for monographs. Co-authored articles are growing more common in journal publications.
  • Researchers make use of various forms of publication, leading to diversity in publication media (journal articles, monographs, essays in edited volumes, and so on).


Domain-specific aspects of quality and relevance

Hybrid publications, specifically books, target academic researchers, professionals and other interested parties.


Relevance of indicators for products

The NWP panel has authorised various publication channels for journals and books, differentiated by target group. The panel has not differentiated these channels by subdomain. The multidisciplinary nature of this domain means that indicators authorised by other panels are also relevant. Link to lists


Relevance of quantitative indicators for use and marks of recognition

  • Since established databases (e.g. Web of Science, Scopus) register few journals and no monographs as sources, we do not recommend using bibliometric data from these databases. In relevant cases, it may be possible to trace monograph citations using Google Scholar. Google Scholar may well be suitable for extracting bibliometric data pertaining to subdomains that publish mainly in international journals. It may be necessary to investigate whether these journals are adequately represented in this source, however.
  • In addition to Google Scholar, it is also possible to analyse the impact of hybrid publications by conducting internet searches of societal and scholarly users.