Medieval Studies research culture


Medieval Studies encompasses a broad domain of specialist and interdisciplinary research on the Middle Ages. The common factor in this research is that it makes use of source material that is difficult to access, usually consisting of unpublished manuscripts, but also archaeological or other material sources. The task of deciphering and interpreting these sources requires an in-depth knowledge of the auxiliary sciences. The fragmented nature of the manuscripts that have survived also means that researchers must constantly question the extent to which extant sources are representative.

Specialist research focuses on such subdomains as Arabic, archaeology, Proto-Germanic languages, art history and Proto-Romance languages, each with its own research traditions and theoretical approaches developed within (and outside) the subdisciplines. That research may concern a specific literary tradition or an era, but it can also be interdisciplinary in nature. That is the case with regard to the reception theory of medieval texts approached from an historical perspective. Medieval Studies has links with other disciplines, for example history, philosophy, Islam studies and literary studies. It actively maintains interdisciplinary links and its research culture consequently displays strong similarities with other domains, as well as its own specific features. Th research school Mediëvistiek functions as a network, helps train PhDs and oversees communication within the research domain.


Target groups

Medieval Studies is international in orientation; both its publications and its close international alliances make that clear. Research in this domain is also interesting to those beyond the academic community, as can be seen by public expressions of interest in lectures, blogs and books about the Middle Ages, whether in Dutch or another European language.


Products and communication

  • Academic publications often take the shape of books and essays in edited volumes, as well as articles in Dutch and international journals. Whether in print or digital format, publications often target both an academic and a broad general readership.
  • Research is international in orientation and most publications are therefore in English. Other common languages are German, French, Spanish and Italian. Publication in foreign languages is important in certain specialist areas. Dutch-language publications are also common, for example if appropriate to the specialism (Dutch language and literature) and if the publication is meant for a broader readership.
  • Review processes are important in the context of national and international publications. That is true of articles in journals, essays in edited volumes and books.
  • These are virtually always peer reviews, but also occasional editorial reviews.


Processes and strategies

  • Communication with a broad group of interested readers is important. Researchers communicate by producing hybrid publications (including books), writing articles in popular periodicals (e.g. weeklies) and literary media, and blogging. Medievalists also frequently collaborate with radio and television producers, help organise exhibitions, make research results available in digital formats, translate medieval texts, and make ample use of social media.
  • The most common type of publication is the ‘single-authored publication’, especially in the case of books (monographs), which have a lengthier production time.


Domain-specific aspects of quality and relevance

Hybrid books, participation in public debates, blogging, articles in popular periodicals (e.g. weeklies) and literary media, contributions to databases, and social media.


Relevance of indicators for products

The Mediëvistiek panel has authorised various publication channels for journals and books by target group. 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

Bibliometric indicators such as citation analyses are not useful, even if based on Google Scholar. That is because many of the publication channels are not indexed and because reference practices are too diverse.