Referee guidelines

Thank you for agreeing to act as a referee for Historical Research.

About the journal

First published in 1923, Historical Research (formerly the Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research) is a leading journal for history. It publishes the work of established scholars and assists new researchers with their first articles. Subjects cover a wide geographical and temporal span (from Britain to the Far East; from the early middle ages to the 20th century). The submission of articles from a variety of approaches is encouraged (including social, political, urban, intellectual and cultural history). The journal also reserves space for the publication of important short notes and documents. Articles are usually up to 14,000 words including references, but longer articles are published in exceptional circumstances.

Historical Research is edited by Professor Lawrence Goldman, director of the Institute of Historical Research; the executive editor is Dr Julie Spraggon; and the assistant editor, Sara Charles. It is published on behalf of the IHR by Wiley-Blackwell. See their website for further details

General notes for referees

When you assess the paper it is important to consider both the structure and content. We ask that you consider:

  • General structure and organization
  • Coherence and general flow of ideas
  • Sources and interpretation
  • Interdisciplinary/comparative perspective
  • Contribution and originality

The following points should be taken into consideration, recognising that not all the points apply to every paper and that some papers may prompt additional questions:

  • Is the title suitably informative?
  • Are the objectives of the work clearly stated?
  • Are the methods clearly described?
  • Are the conclusions concisely presented?
  • Does the author refer to the relevant literature?
  • Does the paper provide anything new either in the way of evidence or interpretation to what is already known in the field?
  • Does the paper discuss an issue of current concern in the field?
  • Are the arguments sound?

Overall evaluation of the paper:

  • merits publication in the journal as it stands or with minor revision.
  • requires some revision before further consideration for publication.
  • requires major revision and possibly further substantive research before any consideration for publication.
  • is not suitable for publication in Historical Research. (Please indicate it if might be suitable for another journal.)

Do please suggest improvements, and indicate any errors of a minor nature which, while not detracting from the value of the article as a whole, should be tidied up before publication.

Your report and recommendation will be treated in strict confidence. However, we hope you will not mind if we feel it worthwhile to pass on all, or part, of your comments to the author anonymously.

Please let us have your comments within six weeks.


Dr Julie Spraggon
Executive Editor, Historical Research
Institute of Historical Research
Senate House
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU