Reviews in History publishes its 1,000th review

Thursday 2 December 2010

Reviews in History, the online journal of the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), publishes its 1,000th review today. 

Launched in 1996, Reviews covers books and digital resources across every area of historical interest, with all reviews being undertaken by leading experts in the field. It has always been noted for its broad scope, chronologically, geographically and thematically. It now publishes a new issue every week on its recently redesigned website, each featuring four original reviews.

From the start, the journal has published reviews of greater length than those usually found in scholarly periodicals (between 2,000 and 3,000 words), and as a consequence of its digital-only format has also been able to make them available much earlier. Reviews also allows authors and editors a right of reply, stimulating discussion and providing readers with an insight into the major debates occurring at the cutting edge of historical research.

The reviews are freely available and enjoy a large and growing readership, from academics to the wider public interested in history. They provide an invaluable resource for researching, teaching and studying history at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

In recent months particular effort has been made to focus on the expanding number of digital resources in history, with reviews being commissioned to examine not just the content but the functionality and operability of these tools now transforming the historian’s craft.

Initially funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in 1996, Reviews is now supported by IHR core funding, reflecting its centrality to the Institute’s research facilitation remit. It is a striking example of external seed-corn funding leading to long-term sustainability in the digital sphere.

This week’s special ‘1,000’ issue features Gary Magee and Andrew Thompson’s Empire and Globalisation: Networks of People, Goods and Capital in the British World, c.1850–1914, reviewed by Stuart Ward, and Elizabeth Tilley’s take on The Punch Brotherhood: Table Talk and Print Culture in Mid-Victorian London by Patrick Leary. Two major new digital resources, The Illustrated London News Historical Archive, 1842–2003 and London Lives 1690–1800, are also reviewed, by Peter Sinnema and Ben Heller respectively.

Dr Jane Winters, Head of Publications at the IHR, said:
'Reviews in History was a truly innovative digital publishing initiative when it was launched in 1996 and there is still nothing quite like it in the field. It enshrined the authorial right to reply more than a decade before humanities researchers began seriously to challenge traditional forms of peer review in the digital environment, and made full use of the flexibility of the digital medium. The journal is a central element of the IHR's publishing programme, and we very much look forward to the publication of the next 1,000 reviews. If Reviews continues as it has developed thus far, the 2,000th article may well look very different.'

Alastair Dunning, JISC programme manager, said: 
‘JISC is delighted to acknowledge the lasting success of Reviews in History. By creating a sustainable website with a clear impact on its discipline, the Institute of Historical Research has demonstrated how initial JISC funding can help digital projects embed themselves as vital tools within the research community.’

 
Notes for Editors:
 
Reviews in History: www.history.ac.uk/reviews/

JISC: www.jisc.ac.uk/
 
For more information about Reviews contact Danny Millum, Deputy Editor at danny.millum@sas.ac.uk or on 020 7862 8812.