European Science Foundation Grades Journals

The European Science Foundation has a project called the European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH).

... there are specifities [!] of Humanities research, that can make it difficult to assess and compare with other sciences. Also, it is not possible to accurately apply to the Humanities assessment tools used to evaluate other types of research. As the transnational mobility of researchers continues to increase, so too does the transdisciplinarity of contemporary science. Humanities researchers must position themselves in changing international contexts and need a tool that offers benchmarking. This is why ERIH (European Reference Index for the Humanities) aims initially to identify, and gain more visibility for top-quality European Humanities research published in academic journals in, potentially, all European languages.

Through a peer-reviewed process, ERIH is grading European journals in the humanities.

The ERIH lists will help to identify excellence in Humanities scholarship and should prove useful for the aggregate benchmarking of national research systems, for example, in determining the international standing of the research activity carried out in a given field in a particular country.

Suddenly, humanities scholars will have to start paying a lot more attention to where they publish. In Norway and other countries, a department's funding is directly linked to the ERIH grade of the journals where its faculty publishes.

Grade A means global readership. Grade B means international readership. Grade C means national readership. Only good respected scholarly journals get graded at all. Here's a rundown of grade A and B journals focusing at least to a great part on Scandinavian archaeology (not including e.g. Mediterranean archaeology practiced by Scandinavians).

Grade A

  • Acta Archaeologica
  • Norwegian Archaeological Review

Grade B

  • Current Swedish Archaeology
  • Fennoscandia archaeologica
  • Fornvännen
  • Hikuin
  • Iskos
  • Journal of Danish Archaeology
  • Kuml
  • Lund Archaeological Review
  • Viking
  • Archaeologia Medii Aevi Finlandiae
  • Monograph series
  • Lund Studies in Historical Archaeology
  • Monograph series
  • Suomen Muinaismuistoyhdistyksen Aikakauskirja
  • Monograph series
  • Tor
  • Graded despite being on hiatus since a decade!

So, all the Scandy countries except Iceland have grade B journals. Acta Archaeologica is an annual published in Copenhagen, and it does have the kind of global scope required for grade A. I'm a little surprised though that N.A.R. is graded A. I'm really interested in Norwegian archaeology, and yet I have only ever found reason to read one or two papers in that journal in my 15 years as a professional scholar. It seems to cater mainly to the theory crowd with which I do not mix willingly. On the other hand, Norway has only one grade B journal, which is likely to get inundated with manuscripts now from Norwegians who would like to keep their funding yet continue to write about actual archaeology.

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Och vem finner hikuin, kuml och viking internationella...

Underligt också att Primitive tider i Norge har en högre nationell rang än viking, inte finns med, eller är det bara ditt axplock som missat den?

Leif, you're right, that is weird. The ERIH folks must have gotten confused or been fooled. As far as I can tell, there are no other monograph series on the list.

HP, I didn't know that Primitive tider was an archaeological journal.

Hikuin, Kuml and Viking are very international, all are read in the Swedish border provinces. (-;

Primitive tider hasn't received any grade at all from ERIH. It may have to do with the minimum number of subscribers (200) requirement.

The Norwegian ranking list for journals is availble here:
You can make a search according to subject area (eg. arkeologi og konservering) and scientific level. Some very weird decisions in places about which journals to include and how to rank them!
By the way, I thought your article on Ales stenar in the latest number of the EJA was very good.

Thanks for the list and your kind words, Ismene!

About monograph series -- I'm pretty sure that Suomen Muinaismuistoyhdistyksen Aikakauskirja ("the Annual of the Finnish Society of Antiquaries") is also a monograph series, come to think of it.

If a foreigner might weigh in here, I'm very suspicious of ratings like this. Nobody has ever rated something the way I would, in my country or anywhere else. They never have any idea what I want to read! What I end up reading depends more on how hard it is to get hold of than what its supposed quality is. I've gotten so desperate for reading fodder that I've read the backs of Cheerios boxes (a popular children's cereal). That's about as boring as it gets, let me tell ya! But, as a linguist, I must say, I'd rate the rater's paragraph a C+ for bad choice of verbiage. It needs pruning. "Specifities" is not a word, as you note with your lovely exclamation point, Martin. "Assessment tools" should go before "apply" in the next sentence, with a relative pronoun, "that" added to stick it to the following dependent clause. Did a German write that paragraph? Sounds like it.

We don't need "transnational" to be added to English when we've already got "international" in the dictionary. "Benchmarking" all squashed together without a hyphen is pretty bad when "ranking" would do a better job. But, heavens to Betsy! Who thought up "transdisciplinarity"? He should have been strangled with his necktie! I say we throw that one right out the window this very minute. To arms! Whatever happened to "interdisciplinary studies"? Why aren't two words acceptable? That first one's a mouthful anyway. If we need to make everything into one word, let's go speak Turkish, where that sort of thing is properly logical and grammatical and they have neat suffixes that let you do it in an orderly fashion. My ears are all bloody and I'm going to faint!

By DianaGainer (not verified) on 11 Nov 2008 #permalink