Ensuring Quality

The VCH is committed to maintaining the academic quality of all its publications and has developed several ways of guaranteeing this.

All editors and major contributors to VCH publications are academic historians or have equivalent experience or qualifications. They are appointed by the VCH's central editorial office in the Institute of Historical Research or locally with the approval of the University of London, as owners of the VCH project. They are clearly acknowledged in all types of VCH publication. Volunteers work closely with professional or experienced historians and have their contributions approved by them.

Work is ready for publication when it has been reviewed and edited as part of an iterative process. Publication takes the form of a book (a VCH history as a red book, or a VCH Short). Final submissions for publication, for either series, are edited by the county editors and then by the VCH staff in the central office, who look for quality of content, readability, house style and length. 

Review

Review of work in progress and completed is one of the most important ways of ensuring quality and consistency throughout the VCH.In the counties, draft histories are reviewed as work progresses by local panels formed of professional historians and informed users. Draft histories are uploaded to the county areas of the VCH website so that a wider public has the opportunity to read and review them in advance of publication.Each year, county editors and contributors meet central office staff to review the histories they have written during the previous year, and to discuss plans for completion of work in hand and the county series as a whole. Targets, which are related to the scheduling of each publication, are agreed and county staff report on these quarterly. County editors and contributors are able to help each other by circulating draft parish histories amongst themselves. Such sharing of expertise, which is helpful as the task of covering the long time-spans and range of subjects included in the VCH is a challenge. Internal review also promotes best practice in research and writing across the series. Where thought helpful VCH Central Office might suggest a particular parish history should be read by a particular editor or contributor, but all resulting comments are advisory only.  

External Peer Review

Independent, external peer reviewers are selected when a manuscript has been completed. The reviewer reads and comments on the submission, and advises the county editor and central editorial team on its suitability for publication. Reviewers are chosen by the Editorial Board of the VCH. No text can proceed to publication without an independent peer review having been undertaken.