Call for Abstracts: The Past and Present of Humanities Peer Review

Abstract submission deadline: 15 March 2024

Peer review, i.e. the institutionalized evaluation of scholars and their outputs by others working in the same field, is fundamental to knowledge production and research evaluation in the present-day humanities. However, the origins and development of humanities peer review remain remarkably poorly understood, particularly in comparison to the history of peer review in the natural and social sciences. This special issue aims to bridge this knowledge gap by exploring the historical evolution of peer review in humanities disciplines such as history, theology, philosophy, musicology, and linguistics. It seeks to uncover the diverse forms of humanities peer review that have existed throughout history, extending beyond currently dominant practices of academic peer review. By starting to explore the global historical context of peer review in the humanities and by situating this history alongside the history of scientific peer review, this special issue offers valuable insights for historians and sociologists interested in academic evaluation, quality control, and gatekeeping. Additionally, by revealing the broad spectrum of evaluative practices that have historically been employed within the humanities, it opens up new perspectives that have the potential to inspire the present and future of peer review across the humanities and sciences.
Key topics for articles

We invite scholars to submit proposals for papers that explore the historical development of peer review in the humanities, with a particular focus on the period from the nineteenth century up to the present. We welcome historical and sociological contributions that promise to offer new insights into the historical and/or recent developments of peer review in the humanities, and that help situate current evaluative practices within a broader historical context.

Proposals may explore the social, cultural, political, and epistemological aspects of the recent history of peer review in the humanities. We invite potential contributors to consider topics related to questions such as:

● How have peer review practices in the humanities historically differed from those in the natural and social sciences?

● How have peer review processes in the humanities historically been organized?

● Who were allowed to act as reviewers, and who were excluded from this role?

● How has the organization and practice of the peer review process changed within the humanities?

● What has been the impact of peer review on the production of knowledge in the humanities?

For a more detailed introduction to the special issue and potential topics for articles, please see the full Call for Papers, which can be found here.

Submission guidelines

Extended abstracts (max. 1000 words, not including the bibliography) should be submitted by March 15, 2024 to and Authors whose article proposals have been accepted will be asked to submit a preliminary outline of their paper of approximately 3000 words in length. This outline will be discussed during an online workshop scheduled for the summer or fall of 2024. The submission deadline for full papers (6,000-9,000 words) is November 15, 2024.