Led by its Research Policy Committee, the Royal Historical Society plays a key role in speaking for historians in the UK on policy issues related to research. The Committee maintains close contacts with research councils, funding providers and government, and liaises directly and regularly with other learned societies in History and the Humanities more broadly.
The Research Policy Committee’s current priorities include:
- assessing the implications of the REF2021 results for historians, surveying members’ views on REF, and contributing to the future development of research assessment
- previously, responding to the REF agenda and submitting to the most recent (REF2021) consultation exercises. Our responses included a stress on the importance of the monograph, our opposition to greater use of metrics; the position of early career historians; the importance of equality and diversity
- pro-actively examining Equality and Diversity within historical teaching and the profession
- the open access agenda. We have consistently expressed support for the principle of open access research, including in our own publications, while seeking to ensure that historians are not disadvantaged by requirements shaped by the working practices of very different disciplines
- ensuring that the interests of Early Career Researchers and other historians working outside permanent academic posts are properly represented. As part of these endeavours our own funding schemes are expressly focused on supporting postgraduate and early career scholars.
We aim to ensure that the views of historians are taken into account when designing and implementing research policies. A wider commitment to historical research, together with the impact agenda, means that we also look to the relationship between historical research, public bodies and cultural institutions, and wider society.
The Research Policy Committee, chaired by Professor Jonathan Morris (University of Hertfordshire) brings together RHS councillors and officers, along with co-opted members from key organisations such as The National Archives.
There is also an annual joint meeting of the Research Policy Committee and the Education Policy Committee, which provides an opportunity to discuss overlapping or related policy matters. These include: public history; school curricula and the ‘pipeline’ into historical study; and postgraduate training. In addition to our monitoring and advocacy roles, we aim to provide the membership with information and guidance about policy changes that are likely to affect them.