Ensuring Quality

The VCH is committed to maintaining the academic quality of all its publications, whether print or digital, 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. 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. Publication takes the form of a book (a VCH history as a red book, or a VCH Short). Final submissions for publication, in whatever form, 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

Academic members of the VCH National Advisory Committee advise on the quality of VCH research and writing as work in each county progresses. Peer reviewers are selected when a 'big red book' or paperback has been completed. The reviewer reads and comments on the submission, and advises the county editor and central editorial team. Specialist contributions may need specialist reviewers. Reviewers are chosen by the Editorial Board of the VCH, in consultation with the VCH Advisory Board where necessary, generally from a panel of reviewers. The panel includes:  

Professor Christopher Dyer, FBA; Dr John Blair, Queen’s College, Oxford; Dr Philip Morgan, Keele University; Professor John Morrill, FBA, Selwyn College, Cambridge; Professor Rosemary Sweet, University of Leicester; Professor A.J. Pollard, University of Teesside; Dr Angus Winchester, Lancaster University; Professor Marilyn Palmer, University of Leicester; Dr Paul Barnwell, University of Oxford; Professor Brian Short, University of Sussex; Dr Chris Webb, Borthwick Institute, York; Dr Peter Durrant, County Archivist, Berkshire; Professor Michael Hicks, University of Winchester; Dr Paul Stamper, English Heritage; Dr Patricia Croot; Professor David Palliser, University of Leeds (Emeritus); Professor John Beckett, University of Nottingham; Dr Chris Currie; Professor Julia Barrow, University of Leeds; Bridget Cherry; Professor Peter Fleming, UWE; Professor Henry French, Exeter; Dr Mark Gardiner, Belfast; Dr Adrian Green, Durham; Dr Andrew Hann, Historic England; Professor Vanessa Harding, Birkbeck; Dr Jonathan Healey, Oxford Kellog; Dr Chris Lewis, IHR; Dr Briony McDonagh, Hull; Professor Maureen Meikle; Dr Susan Oosthuizen, Cambridge ICE; Professor Jon Stobart, Manchester Metropolitan; Professor Jo Story, Leicester; Chris Whittick, Senior Archivist East Sussex CC; Dr Nicola Verdon, Sheffield Hallam.