As easy as ABC?

April 28, 2006

I sympathise with June Purvis who finds a "white, male, traditional and Eurocentric bias" in the value placed on history journals in the European Reference Index for the Humanities (Letters, April 21).

As an example of this bias, she includes Agricultural History , which is edited in the US and is listed as an "A" category journal.

Agricultural History Review , which I edit in Reading and is acknowledged to be the leading anglophone journal in the field, isn't included at all.

Agricultural History certainly is not "White, male, traditional and Eurocentric", and we do a strong line in articles on the experience of rural women that Purvis might find rewarding reading.

Philip Esler, chief executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, maintains that the listings are a "reference index only... to give researchers information about journals".

The European Science Foundation might credit academics with the ability to discover appropriate journals for themselves. Perhaps Esler might tell us why, if the listings are a reference index only, each journal has a grading and if the AHRC didn't supply those gradings, who did and what they are for?

It is all too easy to envisage a situation in which research managers (and funding councils) hold that we should submit all our work to "A" journals and to "B" journals only when the opportunities for publication in "A"

journals have been exhausted. We will be told that we should not be publishing in, or refereeing for, and certainly not editing "C" journals at all.

R. W. Hoyle. Reading University

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