Unwritten Histories

The Unwritten Rules of History

A Guide To Peer-Reviewed Journals in Canadian History

Peer-Reviewed Journals in Canadian History

So I teased this one a little bit in the latest round up. The number one question that I get from students (aside from the classic, “Will this be on the exam?”) is: “How do I tell if this is a peer-reviewed article?” Some professors are bewildered by this question. After all, isn’t it obvious? Unfortunately, most first year students (and many second, third, and fourth year students) have never heard the term before.  So in this blog post, I’m going to provide a (really) short introduction to the concept of peer-review and how to tell when an article is peer-reviewed. I’m also going to talk about a couple of publications that are commonly perceived by students to be peer-reviewed, but are actually not. The remainder of the blog post will be devoted a comprehensive list of peer-reviewed journals that publish articles on Canadian history.

While I created this post with undergraduates in mind, this is also a great resource for new graduate students or scholars who are trying to get their work published. Not only does do I list all of the relevant journals that publish articles on Canadian history, but I also include information about their websites, publication frequency and schedules, their scope, access (whether you can read them for free or not – open versus closed), the languages they accept, and available formats.

What is Peer Review?

As with many terms, the explanation lies in the word itself. At its most basic, “peer review” means that a publication has been reviewed by the author’s peers (2 to 4 scholars who work in the same or related fields) prior to publication and deemed to be acceptable.

Peer review is extremely important when it comes to scholarly work. Think of it as a jury for a publication, only rather deciding the guilt or innocence of a party, it’s deciding whether or not it is a good piece of scholarship. Peer review helps the scholarly community by ensuring that everything released to the public is properly researched, has reviewed existing literature, makes a sound conclusion based on an convincing argument and a good methodology, and is an original contribution to the field. In other words, you can trust that the information inside the publication is most likely accurate. A publication that is not peer-reviewed isn’t necessarily bad, it just means that it doesn’t have that gold-seal of approval. Just as most people wouldn’t go to a doctor who doesn’t have a medical degree, most scholars avoid non-peer reviewed publications when it comes to research.

Expert Tip: While it’s generally viewed as a good system, it still doesn’t catch everything! Remember to be critical of anything you read, even if it’s written by someone with a Ph.D, including this blog. 😉

 

How Can  You Tell if an Article is Peer Reviewed?

While we wait for someone to invent a magical peer-review detector (Hogwarts, I’m looking at you), there are a few basic things to look for when identifying if an article is peer-reviewed. There are two basic methods:  Quick and Dirty and Official

 

Quick and Dirty

There are a few simple characteristics to look for when it comes to quickly identifying whether an article is peer-reviewed. Here’s what I usually tell my students:

  1. The article should be a minimum of 10 to 12 pages long.
  2. The article must have either footnotes or endnotes (and more than just a couple).
  3. The article’s author has either a master’s or a Ph.D in the field they are writing about.

In my experience, this eliminates the vast majority of articles that are not peer-reviewed, and is a good place to start.

 

Official

If you want to make absolutely sure that an article is peer-reviewed, the best way to do this is to verify that the journal in which the article is published is refereed. Refereed is basically just another word for peer-reviewed. You can determine this information by going to the journal’s website and looking at its description. If you are researching through a university library, you can also look the journal up on the Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory. This is an official directory of all journals, and will tell you whether or not the journal you are looking up is refereed. Additionally, you can (and probably should) speak with a university librarian. There are usually “subject librarians” for each university subject; the “history librarian” at your university library will be able to give you a comprehensive list of peer-reviewed publications. Finally, you can always ask your professor!

 

Book Reviews are Not Peer-Reviewed

The reason why I usually recommend that students use the quick and dirty method is that verifying whether a journal is peer-reviewed or refereed doesn’t actually tell you if an article is as well. The main culprit here is the book review.  Journals publish a number of different pieces of writing in each issue, including reviews of new scholarly books. These reviews are done by academics, but they are not peer-reviewed prior to publication. So they are not good sources for students or scholars to use in their research, unless they are trying to determine if a book is peer-reviewed (which is a whole other blog post). You can easily tell when something is a book review because it’s usually only a couple of pages in length, with a couple of citations, and the only thing that is discussed in the article is the book or books mentioned at the beginning.

 

A Journal By Any Other Name….

There are two publications that really seem to confuse students when it comes to whether or not they are peer-reviewed. These are Canadian Issues and Canada’s History (formerly known as The Beaver, which always makes students laugh. Who’s idea was that anyways?) The reason for the confusion is that these publications often contain articles written by academics. However, these are magazines, not scholarly journals. That means that the articles inside of them are not peer-reviewed. They might be interesting to use, but they are not scholarly sources of information. These articles also don’t pass the Quick and Dirty test, since they are rarely more than 5 to 10 pages, and contain minimal citations.

 

Peer-Reviewed Canadian History Journals

I realize that even with all of this information, it can still be difficult to tell whether or not something is peer-reviewed. To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of all of the journals that concentrate primarily on the history of Canada (just make sure you’re using the articles and not the book reviews!) These are all accepted by the scholarly community as peer-reviewed.

I do want to note that these are simply publications that deal mostly, but not exclusively, with Canada. There are lots of other articles that look at various aspects of Canadian history, but are published in journals that are not limited to a particular geographic area. I haven’t included these journals on the list, simply because they may publish material on Canada once a year, if at all, and if I included them, this list would never end.

 

National History


Canadian Historical Review

Frequency of publication: 4 times per year

Publication Schedule: March, June, September, December

Focus: Considered by some to be the premier journal of Canadian history, the CHR publishes articles on a broad range of topics, all dealing in some way with Canadian history. Transnational and comparative topics are also welcome, as are articles on historiography and methodology.

Access: Closed

Language: English and French

Format: Print and Online

 

Canadian Journal of History

Frequency of publication: 3 times per year

Publication Schedule: Spring-Summer, Autumn, Winter

Focus: The Canadian Journal of History publishes articles that deal with any and all kinds of history. The Canadian part of the title simply refers to the journal’s Canadian origins. Although the journal’s main focus is on historical subjects outside of Canadian territorial boundaries, it does occasionally publish articles on Canadian subjects. Don’t be fooled by the title, but don’t overlook it either.

Language: English and French

Access: Closed

Format: Print and Online

 

Histoire sociale/Social History

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Publication Schedule: May, November

Focus: Histoire sociale publishes articles that deal specifically with social history, meaning they publish articles that focus on the lived experiences of ordinary people. While this is a Canadian journal and many of the articles are geographically focused here as well, they do publish articles dealing with other parts of the world.

Access: Closed

Language: English and French

Format: Print and Online

 

The Journal of the Canadian Historical Association

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Focus: The JCHA is the official journal of the Canadian Historical Association (CHA), the official professional organization for Canadian historians. The journal publishes the best full-length articles based on presentations from the annual CHA conference. Again, while this is a Canadian publication, it does publish articles from other geographic areas so long as the author is Canadian. The first issue of each volume is in print and online, while the second is online only and devoted to thematic topics.

Access: Closed

Language: English and French

Format: Print (first issue only) and Online

Note: This journal publishes on a year-long delay, for example, the 2015 issue was actually published in 2016.

 

Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française

Frequency of publication:  4 times per year

Focus: The RHAF publishes articles that deal with the history of Francophone experience in Quebec, Canada, and North America.

Language: French

Access: Closed

Format: Print and Online

 

 

Regional Histories


Acadiensis

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Publication Schedule: Summer/Fall, Winter/Spring

Focus: Acadiensis publishes articles that deal exclusively with Atlantic Canada (including PEI, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland/Labrador) as well as most of the Eastern coast of North America, regardless of approach, methodology, or topic.

Language: English and French

Access: Closed (Winter/Spring 2016 available for free as of this posting)

Format: Print and Online (Up to 2015) and (Winter/Spring 2016 and onwards)

 

Ontario History

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Focus: Ontario History publishes scholarly articles that deal with any aspects of Ontario’s history.

Language: English

Access: Closed

Format: Print and Online (up to 2010, requires access to an institution.)

Note: Though the journal continues to publish, issues after 2010 do not appear to be indexed. These issues can be ordered directly from the journal.

 

Manitoba History

Frequency of publication: 3 times per year

Publication Schedule: Winter, Fall, Spring/Summer

Focus: This journal publishes scholarly (peer-reviewed) and popular articles on the subject of Manitoba history. The popular articles are contained in their own section, called Pageant.

Language: English

Access: Open to June 2007, closed afterwards

Format: Print and Online

 

 

Thematic History


Bulletin d’histoire politique

Frequency of publication: 3 times per year

Publication Schedule: Winter, Spring, Fall

Focus: The Bulletin d’histoire politique publishes all articles that looks at various themes relating to politics and history in Quebec. Each issue is devoted to a particular theme, like citizenship, the 1950s, and so on.

Language: French

Access: Closed

Format: Print and Online

 

Canadian Bulletin of Medical History

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Focus: This journal publishes all articles that are related to medical history. Although its main focus is on Canadian history, it does publish articles that look at other parts of the world.

Language: English and French

Access: Open prior to 2015, Closed afterwards

Format: Online (up to 2015) (2016 onwards)

 

Canadian Journal of Law and Society/La Revue Canadienne Droit et Société

Frequency of publication: once per year

Focus: The Canadian Journal of Law and Society/Revue Canadienne Droit et Société is an interdisciplinary journal which publishes articles with a focus on legal scholarship, intersecting with sociology, gender, history, criminology, and other research focuses.

Languages: English and French

Access: Partial access, requires subscription for most articles

Format: Print and Online

 

Canadian Military History

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Publication Schedule: Winter/Spring, Summer/Fall

Focus: This journal publishes articles that deal with any aspect of Canadian military or strategic history. This includes papers that are based on research as well as pedagogical discussions. The journal also deals with contemporary events related to the theme of the military.

Language: English

Access: Open

Format: Online (Use the pulldown menu to the left to look at older issues)

 

Historical Studies in Education

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Publication Schedule: Spring and Fall

Focus: This journal publishes articles that deal with any aspect of the history of education or education policy. While their focus is primarily Canadian, they do publish articles from and about other countries.

Language: English and French

Access: Open

Format: Print and Online

 

Oral History Forum

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year (regular volume and special issue)

Focus: Oral History Forum publishes articles that use oral history as a tool to understand various aspects of history. Though the journal mostly publishes material related to Canadian history, it does also publish articles that use oral history to study other parts of the world.

Language: English

Access: Open after 12 months

Format: Print and Online

 

Material Culture Review

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Focus: This journal publishes any article that focuses on using material objects as a lens through which to understand the past. Like Oral History Forum, Material History Review publishes mostly articles on Canadian history, but is international in scope.

Language: English and French

Access: Closed

Format: Print (up to 2005) and Online

Note: This journal hasn’t published a new issue since 2014 but appears to still be active.

 

Mens : revue d’histoire intellectuelle de l’Amérique française

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Publication Schedule: Spring and Fall

Focus: Mens publishes articles that are related to some aspects of intellectual or cultural history in French North America.

Language: French

Access: Open

Format: Print and Online

Note: You can only download the entire issue, not just one article.

 

Labour/Le Travail

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Publication Schedule: Spring and Fall

Focus: This journal publishes articles that either use a labour history methodology or are focused on the experiences of working people. This is primarily a Canadian journal, though it does also publish articles that examine other parts of the world.

Language: English and French

Access: Everything is Open except for the two most recent issues

Format: Print and Online

 

The Northern Mariner

Frequency of publication: 4 times per year

Focus: This journal publishes articles dealing with the history of the North Atlantic and North Pacific. Although this is a Canadian journal, and much of the content is Canadian, the focus of the journal is international in scope.

Language: English (as far as I can tell)

Access: Closed for the first two years, open afterwards

Format: Print and Online

 

Recherches amérindiennes au Québec

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Focus: The journal des recherches amérindiennes au Québec focuses on socio-political issues facing indigenous peoples not just in Québec but in North America, and publishes articles from a wide range of specializations including history and anthropology.

Language: French

Access: Available through Érudit.

Format: Print and online on érudit.

 

Scientia Canadiensis

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Focus: This journal publishes articles touching on the history of science, technology, and medicine in Canada.

Language: English and French

Access: Closed for the first two years, open afterwards

Format: Print and Online

 

Urban History Review

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Publication Schedule: Generally March and October, recently in June.

Focus: UHR publishes articles that deal with the history of Canada’s cities and urban areas.

Language: English and French

Access: Closed for the first two years, open thereafter

Format: Print and Online

 

 

Studies/Interdisciplinary 


*Note: These journals are not devoted to the study of history, though they frequently publish history articles. Just make sure the article you are using is written by someone who is taking an historical approach to the subject, and you should be fine. That person may not be a historian, but could be a historical geographer, historical sociologist, etc.*

American Review of Canadian Studies

Frequency of publication: 4 times per year

Publication Schedule: March, June, September, December

Focus: This journal is produced by the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States, and publishes articles on Canada from an American perspective. Again, this is not exclusively a history publication, but instead features articles from the humanities and social sciences more broadly.

Language: English

Access: Closed

Format: Print and Online

 

Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture, and Social Justice

Frequency of publication: two times per year

Focus: This interdisciplinary journal publishes articles that use a critical lens to study topics that are related to women and gender studies.

Language: English and French

Access: Open

Format: Print (up to at least 2011, unclear afterwards) and Online

 

BC Studies

Frequency of publication: 4 times per year

Publication Schedule: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Focus: BC Studies publishes articles that focus on British Columbia. This is not an exclusively historical journal, and instead publishes articles from a range of disciplines that fall under the umbrellas of humanities and social sciences. They also frequently publish thematic special issues.

Language: English (so far as I can tell)

Access: Closed

Format: Print and Online

 

British Journal of Canadian Studies

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Focus: This journal is produced by the British Association for Canadian studies, and looks at the Canadian experiences from a comparative perspective. Again, this is not exclusively a history publication, but instead features articles from the humanities and social sciences more broadly.

Language: English and (occasionally) French

Access: Closed

Format: Print and Online

 

Canadian Ethnic Studies

Frequency of publication: 3 times per year

Focus: Canadian Ethnic Studies is produced by the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association and publishes articles from a range of disciplines dealing with the study of ethnicity in Canada. This includes articles on the subject of immigration, inter-group relations, and the experiences of ethnic communities, groups, and individuals.

Language: English

Access: Closed

Format: Print and Online (from 2007 onwards)

 

Canadian Jewish Studies

Frequency of publication: once per year

Focus: Canadian Jewish Studies is an interdisciplinary journal devoted to the study of Jewish life in Canada. It is produced by the Association for Canadian Jewish Studies.

Language: English and French

Access: Open

Format: Print and Online

 

Canadian Journal of Disability Studies

Frequency of publication: 4 times per year

Focus: The Canadian Journal of Disability Studies is an interdisciplinary journal with a focus on all research that advances disability issues.

Language: English

Access: Open

Format: Online

 

Canadian Journal Of Native Studies

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Focus: The Canadian Journal of Native Studies publishes articles that relate to Indigenous communities, groups, individuals, policies, etc… in Canada and around the world. It is currently produced by Brandon University.

Language: English

Access: Open up to 2010, Closed afterwards

Format: Print and Online (free from the journal itself up to 2010 here, newer issues available through Proquest [must be logged into an institution to access])

 

Early American Studies

Frequency of publication: Quarterly

Focus: This is an interdisciplinary journal which focuses on the early Americas (pre-1850s) and accepts articles which focus on history, art, material culture, anthropology, and other disciplines.

Language: English

Access: Available through Project Muse; subscription required.

Format: Print and Online

 

Francophonies d’Amérique

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Publication Schedule: Spring and Fall

Focus: This journal is interdisciplinary and focuses on Francophone communities outside of Quebec. It is particularly interested in the experiences of isolated and minority Francophone communities in North America.

Language: French

Access: Closed for the first two years, open afterwards

Format: Print and Online

Note: This journal hasn’t published a new issue since 2014 but appears to still be active.

 

Globe : revue internationale d’études québécoises

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Focus: This journal is interdisciplinary and publishes articles relating to historical and contemporary Quebec.

Language: French

Access: Closed for the first two years, open afterwards

Format: Print and Online

Note: This journal hasn’t published a new issue since 2014 but appears to still be active.

 

International Journal of Canadian Studies

Frequency of publication: once per year

Focus: The International Journal of Canadian Studies is published by the University of Toronto Press. It is an interdisciplinary journal that publishes articles by Canadian and international scholars in the field of Canadian Studies.

Language: English and French

Access: Closed

Format: Print and Online (from 2013 onwards)

 

Journal of Canadian Studies

Frequency of publication: Three times per year

Publication Schedule: Winter, Spring, Fall

Focus: This journal publishes articles from a range of humanities and social science disciplines with a focus on Canadian history, culture and society.

Language: English and French

Access: Closed

Format: Print and Online

Note: This journal publishes on a year-long delay; for example, the 2015 issue was actually published in 2016.

 

Journal Of New Brunswick Studies

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Focus: The Journal of New Brunswick Studies is an interdisciplinary journal that is devoted to the study of the history, society, and culture of New Brunswick.

Language: English and French

Access: Open

Format: Online

 

Left History

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Focus: Left History covers a range of topics from Marxist and Leninist theory, gender, class, sexuality, and labour.

Access: Open (subscription required to view current editions)

Format: Print, online.

 

London Journal of Canadian Studies

Frequency of publication: 1 times per year (November)

Focus: The London Journal of Canadian Studies is an interdisciplinary journal that focuses on Canadian history, politics, and society. All issues are thematic.

Language: English

Access: Open

Format: Print and Online (from Fall 2014 forward only)

 

Newfoundland And Labrador Studies

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Publication Schedule: Spring and Fall

Focus: Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, formerly known as Newfoundland Studies, is an interdisciplinary journal devoted to the study of all things related to the history, culture, and society of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Language: English and French

Access: Closed

Format: Online

 

Québec Studies 

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Focus: Quebec Studies is an interdisciplinary journal that is devoted to all aspects of both Quebec and Francophone Canadian society, history, and culture

Language: English and French

Access: Closed

Format: Print and Online

 

Prairie Forum

Frequency of publication: once per year

Focus: Prairie Forum is an interdisciplinary journal devoted to all things related to the Canadian Prairies.

Language: English

Access: Closed (but moving to open)

Format: Print and Online (to come)

Note: Most recent issue is from from 2013. Unclear if this is still an active journal.

 

Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies

Frequency of publication: 2 times per year

Focus: Topia is an interdisciplinary journal articles that publishes articles using a cultural studies methodology. While the main focus of the journal is on Canadian culture, it does publish articles that examine other parts of the world as well.

Language: English

Access: Closed for the first 24 months, open afterwards

Format: Print and Online

 

Zeitschrift für Kanada-Studien (ZKS)

Frequency of publication: once per year

Focus: The ZKS is a journal that publishes articles in the field of Canadian studies, particularly work done by scholars living in German-speaking countries. Many people don’t know this, but Germany has a vibrant Canadian studies com

Language: English (primarily), French, German

Access: Closed for the first two years, open afterwards

Format: Print and Online

 


So there you have it — a basic introduction to peer-reviewed journals and and Canadian history peer-reviewed journals. Now what are you waiting for? Go out and research or submit your own work! In a future blog post, I’ll talk about databases and how to find good sources for your research, so keep an eye out for that. So, do you have any favourite publications? I really like Histoire Sociale, mostly because I’m a social history nerd. Any tricks for helping students determine which articles are peer-reviewed? Did I miss a journal you think I should add to my list? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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21 Comments

  1. If your students can read French, then you might add the Bulletin d’histoire politique (on Quebec/Canadian political history, published in French) and Mens. Revue d’histoire intellectuelle de l’Amérique française (on intellectual history in Quebec/Canada).

  2. The peer-reviewed Zeitschrift für Kanada-Studien (http://www.kanada-studien.org/publikationen/zks/) is tri-lingual (English, French, German) but most submissions are in German.

  3. sorry, meant to write most articles are in English (not German)!

  4. Prairie Forum?
    Staggering of late, but not completely moribund… I think.

  5. Well… remember when Hs/SH went into “hibernation” for several years. It happens

  6. Globe. Revue internationale d’etudes québécoises. Interdisciplinary and French. The next issue is out this fall.

  7. The Northern Mariner

  8. You could also add Scientia Canadensis, the journal of the history of Canadian science and technology.

  9. Another journal to add: Historical Studies in Education/Revue d’histoire de l’education.

  10. Thank you for this posting: It is excellent. Another inclusion could be the Canadian Journal of Law and Society.

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