Publishing and Open Access

The Royal Historical Society is actively engaged in ongoing debates about the future of arts and humanities publishing. Overseen by its Publications Committee, the Society is both a publisher of scholarly history and a leading participant in debates over Open Access publishing — with reference to the benefits and limitations for individual researchers and learned societies.

The Society’s Publications Committee is chaired by Professor Jane Winters (School of Advanced Study, University of London).

Open Access Policy Work

The RHS engages closely with wider debates about Open Access publishing, and the implications of OA policies for historians and learned societies:

UKRI and Open Access for those receiving research funding

Plan S and its implications for historians

  • October 2019: RHS Guidance Paper Plan S and the History Journal Landscape. This report is designed to assist History and broader Humanities & Social Sciences stakeholders to understand and navigate the current policy frontiers of open access publishing for peer reviewed scholarly journals.
  • July 2019: Interim Working Paper Plan S and the Hybrid History Journal Landscape: a preliminary mapping of current preparedness for Plan S open access implementation among UK and international ‘hybrid’ History journals and designed to elicit further evidence, feedback and corrections for a more comprehensive analysis to be published in October 2019.
  • May 2019: response to the Updated Guidance on Plan S, available here.
  • April 2019: RHS published a Working Paper assessing the implications of Plan S compliance for history researchers, focusing particularly on those with Wellcome funding.
  • February 2019: we submitted a response to the consultation on the ‘Plan S’ open-access initiative, which is available here.
  • January 2019: publication of a briefing paper, call for evidence and interim report, available here.

Publishing and the Research Excellence Framework

In early 2018, the government announced that for REF2027 policies on open access journal articles would be extended to include monographs.

Data management and scholarly communications


RHS reviews UKRI announcement on Open Access

On 6 August, UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) published its long-awaited report on its future approach to Open Access publishing.

UKRI’s Report on Open Access protocols sets out its policy for the future accessibility of research, as funded by its research councils, and published in journal articles, monographs and edited collections.

In an extended RHS blog post, Society officers past and present (Margot Finn, Richard Fisher, Emma Griffin and Peter Mandler) review UKRI’s policy announcement: setting out its implications for historians, and — equally importantly — what remains unknown at this stage.

UKRI is the overarching body responsible for government research strategy and funding for universities in the UK. It brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, including the Arts and Humanities Research Council  (AHRC) — along with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) — with which many historians will be most familiar as a source of PhD and grant funding.

Read the blog post >


ECH – Publishing in a Journal

‘Printing: a three-quarter view of a press’, Engraving by W. Lowry after J. Farey, 1819, Wellcome Trust Collection, public domain


Once a journal has accepted your work, you still have some time to polish it up (e.g. by adding references to the most recently published work, or by tinkering with your prose, or by addressing lesser criticisms in your readers’ reports). Most journals now process accepted manuscripts through a software system that will let you upload your final manuscript and will subsequently lead you through the publication process.

If you are a UK author, you are now also required to upload your paper – the version that was accepted by the journal – into your institution’s online repository within three months of acceptance. You can still change the paper before the submission of the final manuscript to the publisher, and you may if you wish upload the later versions, but you must upload the version that the journal first accepted (what’s called the ‘accepted author manuscript’) within three months. This will make it eligible for the REF – but it doesn’t mean that it will be freely available (‘open access’) immediately. Your repository ought to allow you to impose an ‘embargo period’, during which the paper remains inaccessible to others, of up to two years, depending on your journal’s policy. This embargo period allows your journal to recoup a moderate subscription charge from readers who will have early access to your work; after the embargo period, your paper will be freely available to be read through the repository (the version that people need to cite will still only be available through the journal).

Different open-access requirements apply if your research has been funded by a research council (e.g. AHRC, ESRC). For more information on the technical requirements for research-council funded research, see the RHS’s Information Sheet on Open Access for RCUK-Funded Historians. The same sheet has information about the different open-access licences that you may be offered; these licences determine which of your rights as author you are willing to give up in order to extend use of your work by others.

Each journal has its own procedures for dealing with the final version of your paper after you’ve uploaded it. Normally they will ‘copy-edit’ it – a professional copy-editor will suggest changes for clarity, consistency, and conformity with the journal’s house style – and you will have an opportunity to respond to these suggested changes. They will, separately, ask you to ‘proofread’ it after it has been formatted for publication – at this stage, you should limit the changes you make to corrections of typographical errors and other small errors. Most journals are still paginated and more extensive correction messes up pagination. It may take up to a year between acceptance and publication, although many journals now put the final copy-edited, formatted and proofed texts on their websites in advance of the formal publication date. Again, this may appear to be slow to you – but at each stage, your paper is getting better.



Getting Published: a guide to first articles and journal publishing

An RHS Online Training Workshop for Early Career Historians


14.00-16.00 BST, Wednesday 21 July 2021
Online via Zoom


‘Getting Published: a guide to first articles and journal publishing’ is an online training event hosted by the RHS designed for early career historians. The focus of this first ‘Getting Published’ session is journals, with specific attention on getting a first academic article written and published in your chosen journal.

The event brings together journal editors and publishers, recent first-time authors, and early career historians. It seeks to demystify the process of journal publishing and provide practical advice and tips on how best to succeed.

The workshop combines brief presentations on academic journals, stages of the publishing process, the experience of getting published, as well as active audience participation in which your questions and concerns are raised and discussed.

Topics for this session include: the journal landscape; differences between an article and a thesis chapter; choosing and approaching the right journal for you; what to expect with peer review and from your publisher if your article is accepted; how to respond to inevitable rejections; journal articles and the Research Excellence Framework (REF); and next steps in publishing on completing your first article.

The session will also consider, and explain, Open Access (OA) publishing: what it means for journal publishing – for authors, editors and journal publishers; what options to choose; and the future for Open Access journal publishing in the wake of UKRI’s imminent declaration on its position of the OA charter ‘Plan S’.

Speakers at the event:
  • Professor Emma Griffin (RHS President, UEA and co-editor of Historical Journal), chair
  • Professor Sandra den Otter (Queen’s University, Ontario and co-editor of the Journal of British Studies)
  • Dr Rebekah Lee (Goldsmiths, University of London and co-editor of the Journal of Southern African Studies)
  • Professor Jane Winters (School of Advanced Study, University of London, RHS Vice-President, Publishing, and specialist in Open Access and digital publishing)

The panel will be joined by three recent authors who’ll offer their experience of navigating journal publishing for the first time, as PhD students and recent post-doctoral researchers:

  • Dr Diya Gupta (RHS and Institute of Historical Research / Journal of War & Culture Studies)
  • Dr Jonah Miller (Cambridge / History Workshop Journal)
  • Sasha Rasmussen (Oxford / Cultural and Social History)

After contributions from the panel, the event will take the form of a discussion involving all attendees. Those attending will be invited to submit questions in advance of the event.

This event is free to all though booking is essential.

Watch the event video



Future RHS training workshops

‘Getting Published’ is the first in a new annual series of RHS ‘Getting Started’ training events for early career historians. Events will provide guidance and insight into key areas of professional development.

Topics for future discussion will include: publishing and communicating research, teaching history, writing history, applying historical knowledge and research skills, and career options for research historians within and outside higher education. ‘Getting Started’ will run four times a year with the next session planned for autumn 2021.



For more guides see also the RHS’s new Teaching Portal: a set of over 50 specially commissioned essays–on research, online resources, teaching and career paths–for current research students and early career teachers.



‘The Margins of Late Medieval London’: latest title published in New Historical Perspectives book series

The latest volume in the Society’s ‘New Historical Perspectives’ book series is now available: The Margins of Late Medieval London, 1430-1540, by Dr Charlotte Berry.

The Margins of Late Medieval London is a powerful study of medieval London’s urban fringe. Seeking to unpack the complexity of urban life in the medieval age, this volume offers a detailed and novel approach to understanding London beyond its institutional structures.



Using a combination of experimental digital, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, the volume casts new light on urban life at the level of the neighbourhood and considers the differences in economy, society and sociability which existed in different areas of a vibrant premodern city.



The book focuses on the dynamism and mobility that shaped city life, integrating the experiences of London’s poor and migrant communities and how they found their place within urban life. It describes how people found themselves marginalized in the city, and the strategies they would employ to mitigate that precarious position.



The Margins of Late Medieval London is now available as a free Open Access download from the University of London Press, and chapter-by-chapter from JSTOR Open Access.

Print editions are also available to purchase, currently with a 30% discount: in the UK, EU & ROW using the code BERRY30 from here; and in North America via University of Chicago Press using code RHSNHP30 from here.


New Historical Perspectives is the Royal Historical Society’s Open Access book series for Early Career Historians, published with the Institute of Historical Research and University of London Press.

For more on the series, what it offers, and how to submit a proposal, please see the NHP page of the Society’s website.

Forthcoming and recent titles in the NHP series


Giving Birth in Eighteenth-Century England

By Sarah Fox. Published: 15 April 2022





The Politics of Women’s Suffrage: Local, National and International Dimensions

Edited By Alexandra Hughes-Johnson and Lyndsey Jenkins. Published: November 2021




Precarious Professionals. Gender, Identities and Social Change in Modern Britain

Edited by Heidi Egginton and Zoë Thomas. Published: October 2021



New Historical Perspectives


New Historical Perspectives (NHP) is the Society’s book series for early career scholars (within ten years of their doctorate), commissioned and edited by the Royal Historical Society, in association with University of London Press and the Institute of Historical Research.

What’s distinctive about New Historical Perspectives?

The NHP series provides extensive support and feedback for authors, many of whom are writing their first monograph having recently completed a History PhD.

Each author in the series receives substantial reports from peer reviewers and series editors; is assigned a contact and ‘mentor’ from the editorial board; and takes part in an Author Workshop to discuss a near complete book with invited specialists. Author Workshops are opportunities to discuss and develop a manuscript with expert readers before submission to the publisher.

Second, all NHP titles are published as free Open Access (OA) editions, eBooks, and in hard and paperback formats by University of London Press. Digital editions of each book increase discoverability and readership. The cost of publishing NHP volumes as Open Access is covered by the series partners, not the author or an author’s academic institution.

New and recent titles in the Series, 2022

Edited collections in the NHP series

In addition to monographs, the series also publishes edited collections. NHP collections are collaborations between historians: edited and including chapters by early career scholars, along with essays from more senior historians.

New Historical Perspectives began publishing in late 2019 and a full listing of titles in the series is available from the University of London Press and via JSTOR Open Access Books.

Submitting a proposal

The Series Editors and Editorial Board welcome proposals for new NHP titles. Proposals may include full-size monographs and edited collections of up to 100,000 words. The NHP series also publishes shorter monographs (50-60,000 words) where this is an appropriate length for a topic.

Many NHP authors are publishing their first book, and editorial mentoring and Author Workshops are designed to help with the transition from PhD to monograph. Equally, the Series Editors welcome proposals for second books from authors within 10 years of completing their doctorates.

More on submitting a proposal to the Series Editors.

Enquiries about the series

For general enquiries, please email the RHS Academic Director:

If you wish to contact the Series’ co-editors directly, please email Professor Elizabeth Hurren ( or Professor Heather Shore (


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‘Transactions of the Royal Historical Society’: Funded Workshop Open Call

Discussion, conversation and thoughtful debate are central to historical research practice and fuel the liveliness of our field.

The Editors of the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society now seek proposals for one-day workshops in which participants engage with a historical, methodological, or pedagogical problem with the intention of publishing the discussion in the journal.

About the Workshop Open Call

To support this, the Society is funding two academic workshops — to the sum of up to £1000 per event — to bring together scholars to facilitate debate, and lead to publication of proceedings as article/s in a future issue of Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. This call is open and not restricted by historical subject or approach.

By offering up to £1000 per workshop, the journal’s Editors — Harshan Kumarasingham and Kate Smith — seek to support colleagues in developing ideas for a discussion, review, or roundtable piece, which will then be submitted to the journal. In terms of submission this could take the form of a single article-length piece or shorter contributions from a limited number of participants. The structure of the piece, and how it can include contributions from several different authors, is open for discussion and development and should be addressed in the proposal.

It is expected that workshops funded by the scheme will take place in the academic year 2022-23, with resulting content submitted to the journal in 2023.

Points to consider when submitting your Workshop proposal

The Editors encourage submissions from scholars at all stages of their career, including the early stages. They particularly welcome proposals for workshops that will bring together scholars at different stages of their careers. Also welcome are proposals that connect historians working in professional sectors alongside Higher Education: for example, heritage, archives, broadcasting, public and community history, or curation.

The Editors likewise seek a wide range of formats for published content. This breadth of options reflects a move at Transactions to more innovative forms of publishing (which go beyond the traditional article format) and so best communicate a topic. In line with this Workshop call, the Editors are keen to highlight new research, methodologies, multi-disciplinary perspectives, and historical practice both in higher education and related sectors.

Applications are invited from groups of scholars and practitioners currently working either in the UK and/or overseas.

Funding is intended to cover the costs of running a one-day workshop: for example, publicity, venue hire and catering, technical support, travel and accommodation for those taking part to meet in-person. For workshops where travel is impractical, selected participants may of course attend online to foster the best possible discussion. Where convenient, the Society’s offices at University College London may also be used to host a workshop.

Workshop organisers are free to choose if their event is open for public attendance, or restricted to the participants discussing the chosen topic. However, funding from the Royal Historical Society will only be for the bringing together of participants, rather than supporting audience attendance.

How to apply

If you have an idea for a workshop and would like to submit a proposal, please provide a 500-750 word statement. This should outline:

  • the academic focus of the workshop and the historical subject / methodology under discussion
  • the purpose and proposed outcome from the workshop in terms of published content in Transactions
  • costings for holding a one-day event
  • the lead organiser(s) and participants who would be involved in the workshop

Proposals should be submitted via the Society’s online applications system by the deadline of 23:59 on Friday 30 September 2022.

About Transactions

Founded in 1872, Transactions has been publishing the highest quality scholarship in history for 150 years and continues to highlight and champion the dynamism of the field. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society is the flagship journal of the Royal Historical Society (RHS), the UK’s leading membership organisation for professional historians of all kinds.

Since 2021, the journal has welcomed open submissions dealing with all historical subjects and any geographical area from the early middle ages to the very recent past. It is interested in research that covers entirely new ground, thematically or methodologically, as well as that on established themes in existing literatures.


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We have appointed a contact person for the organisation's policies and practices and to whom complaints or inquiries can be forwarded:
Philip Carter
Academic Director, RHS
Royal Historical Society
University College London
Gower Street
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Society launches new Associate Fellowships and Postgraduate Memberships

In an important update to its membership package, the Society has introduced two new ways to join and engage with the RHS. Details of its new Associate Fellowship and Postgraduate Membership categories were announced at the Society’s 2021 AGM, held on Friday 26 November, and are effective from that date.

As a result, there are now four ways to be part of the Royal Historical Society: as a Fellow, Associate Fellow, Postgraduate Member and Member.

The changes better align the Society’s membership options to today’s historical profession, within and beyond Higher Education, and bring three important benefits to membership:

  • creating more opportunities for historians, of all backgrounds, to join the Society
  • enabling the Society to better tailor what it offers members based on their career stage and interests
  • providing members with opportunities for continuous involvement with the Society, with options to change membership type to reflect career progression

Further information on the changes is also available via the Society’s blog, Historical Transactions.


Associate Fellowship

The Society’s new category of Associate Fellowship recognises the contribution to history made by those who do not currently qualify for the full RHS Fellowship, which is typically available to historians on publication of a monograph, a substantial set of scholarly articles, or an equivalent body of work.

By contrast, the Associate Fellowship recognises individuals within Higher Education who’ve made a substantial contribution to historical knowledge (for example, with a completed PhD thesis or first set of articles) but have not (yet) reached the level required for election to the Fellowship.

The Associate Fellowship will also recognise those active in sectors other than HE—including heritage, conservation, libraries and archives, teaching, publishing, broadcasting, and community and public history—whose contribution to history is equally significant but was not previously adequately recognised within the Society’s Fellowship structure.

As for full Fellowships, the new Associate Fellowship is recognition, by the members of the profession, of a contribution made to historical knowledge and understanding, and voted for by the RHS Council at its regular meetings.

The principal benefits of the Associate Fellowship include:

  • Print copy of latest volume of the Society’s academic journal, Transactions
  • Discounts on new print volumes in RHS Camden Series and personal subscriptions to the ‘Bibliography of British and Irish History’ online​
  • Access to the Society’s Library and Archive ​at University College London
  • Eligibility to apply for RHS grants and fellowships, where applicable
  • Eligibility to participate in the Society’s Annual General Meeting
  • Access to RHS members events, including Early Career training​ programmes
  • 30% discount on all Cambridge University Press academic books (print only)

Full details, and pricing, of the new Associate Fellowship are available via the Join the RHS section of the Society’s website.


Postgraduate Membership

The Society’s second new category of Postgraduate Membership is open to all those currently enrolled for a further degree (MA and above) in history or a related discipline, in the UK or overseas, and for the duration of the university course, plus one year.

The principal benefits of the Postgraduate Membership include:

  • Online access to latest volume of the Society’s academic journal, Transactions
  • Discounts on new print volumes in RHS Camden Series and personal subscriptions to the ‘Bibliography of British and Irish History’ online​
  • Receipt of weekly e-circulars with news relating to History events + regular RHS communications and Newsletters
  • Access to the Society’s Library and Archive at University College London
  • Eligibility to apply for RHS grants and funded fellowships
  • Eligibility to participate in the Society’s Annual General Meeting
  • Access to RHS training events, including Early Career workshop programme
  • 30% discount on all Cambridge University Press academic books (print only)

Full details, and pricing, of the new Postgraduate Membership are available via the Join the RHS section of the Society’s website.

The launch of the Associate Fellowships and Postgraduate memberships also sees an end to the Society’s existing Early Career Membership category, which previously catered for all research-focused historians who were not full Fellows.

Spanning PhD students at different stages of their research—as well as a wide range of post-docs several years out of a doctorate—the previous ECR category included a very broad range of members. The Society now seeks to support these members via more closely defined categories composed of historians at equivalent career stages.

Following these changes, in 2022 all existing members of the Society’s Early Career category will be given the option to convert their membership to one of the two new categories: i.e. to Associate Fellowship, for those current advanced ECRs who have completed a PhD; or to Postgraduate Membership for those currently studying for a further degree.

From now, anyone wishing to join the Society—who was  previously eligible only for ECR membership—will be able to do so via the new Associate Fellowship or Postgraduate membership routes, as appropriate for their career stage.

Existing Fellowship and Membership options

November’s changes to the Society’s membership will not change the criteria for joining the full Fellowship or becoming a Member of the RHS—the latter being a category open to anyone with an interest in history, but without the professional contribution required for full Fellowship or Associate Fellowship; or who are not studying for a research degree as required for the Postgraduate category.

Many current Members of the Society are, of course, practising historians. Those Members who wish to apply for the new Associate Fellowship, on account of their contribution to history, will also be invited to do so. As for the current ECR members, we will contact these Members in 2022 to invite them to consider converting to the Associate Fellowship.

The new RHS membership categories at a glance

The Society’s previous three membership categories now become four with the creation of the new Associate Fellowship and Postgraduate Membership, which replace the previous Early Career Research option.


What the new Associate Fellow and Postgraduate categories offer

Following November’s changes, the Society will be better able to provide tailored packages and support (e.g. training courses or access to specialist networks) to suit members’ specific interests.

This is especially so for those in academia at the start of their research or professional careers: historians who are either studying for a higher degree (and may take advantage of Postgraduate Membership); or who’ve completed a PhD and are beginning to publish or start a teaching career (Associate Fellowship).

The final content of these offers, by category, is currently being developed and will be communicated to the RHS membership in the coming months.

The Associate Fellowship also has the potential to broaden the Society’s membership beyond higher education, offering a means to recognise the contributions made by those in other professional sectors and via personal research.

By encouraging greater diversity of membership through broader definitions of historical work, we hope to enrich members’ experiences through closer co-operation with historians of different kinds and professions.


For more on the November 2021 changes to the Society’s Membership categories, please see the accompanying post on the RHS blog Historical Transactions, and the individual category pages in the Join the RHS section of the Society’s website.