Parochialism or self-consciousness? Internationality in medical history journals 1997-2006

Steinke, Hubert; Lang, Yves (2011). Parochialism or self-consciousness? Internationality in medical history journals 1997-2006. Medical history, 55(4), pp. 523-38. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 10.1017/S002572730000497X

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Research councils, universities and funding agencies are increasingly asking for tools to measure the quality of research in the humanities. One of their preferred methods is a ranking of journals according to their supposed level of internationality. Our quantitative survey of seventeen major journals of medical history reveals the futility of such an approach. Most journals have a strong national character with a dominance of native language, authors and topics. The most common case is a paper written by a local author in his own language on a national subject regarding the nineteenth or twentieth century. American and British journals are taken notice of internationally but they only rarely mention articles from other history of medicine journals. Continental European journals show a more international review of literature, but are in their turn not noticed globally. Increasing specialisation and fragmentation has changed the role of general medical history journals. They run the risk of losing their function as international platforms of discourse on general and theoretical issues and major trends in historiography, to international collections of papers. Journal editors should therefore force their authors to write a more international report, and authors should be encouraged to submit papers of international interest and from a more general, transnational and methodological point of view.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for the History of Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Steinke, Hubert




Cambridge University Press




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:24

Last Modified:

17 Jul 2020 09:03

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URI: (FactScience: 214058)

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