Publication cultures in the NWO Social Sciences and Humanities domain

The NWO Domain Social Sciences and Humanities consists of a great many research disciplines, each having its own publication culture. NWO is tasked with the assessment of research proposals, and researcher’s CVs are often part of such proposals. Insight into the various publication cultures can therefore help to contextually assess researchers’ CVs. This is why we investigated and identified the differences between the publication cultures in the Social Sciences and Humanities domain.

Research into publication culture

Characteristics of publication cultures

Each research discipline in the Social Sciences and Humanities has its own publication culture with corresponding characteristics. For instance, are research results published primarily in articles or in books? Is it customary to name a single author or a list of authors? And if the latter is the case: are the authors listed alphabetically or by the level of their contribution?

About the publication cultures study

The ‘AO Consult’ agency conducted the study commissioned by the former NWO divisions Humanities and Social Sciences. The objectives were as follows:

  1. identify what significance is attached to different types of publications in the various (sub)disciplines in the humanities;
  2. test whether the available descriptions of publication cultures of the (sub)disciplines in the social sciences are still current;
  3. arrive at up-to-date results that can be used in the assessment practice of research proposals.

The NWO Social Sciences and Humanities domain will present the findings from the study to selection committees to ensure that committee members can use these when assessing research proposals.

Publication cultures and the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

Given that impact factors in a number of publication cultures in the Social Sciences and Humanities do indeed play a role, these are regularly mentioned in the research describing these cultures. However, NWO subscribes to the San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment (DORA) and so it does not use ratings like the Journal Impact Factor and the H-index in its assessments or in any discussions about the assessments.