June 30, 2010
By Robert B. Townsend
The American Historical Review continues to have the highest “impact factor” among history journals, according to the new Journal Citation Reports from Thomson Reuters.
The impact factor measures how often articles in a particular journal are cited by peer-reviewed journals in their database. While this is a rather crude gauge of the actual value of recent articles in these journals, it provides one of the few objective measures for testing the overall influence of journals.
The AHR ranks well above the other history journals measured in the report. The second-highest ranked journal in the study was the Journal of Environmental History, which had an impact factor of 0.750 (as compared to a factor of 2.114 for the AHR).
An eclectic array of articles provided particular lift to the Review’s ranking this year with three or more citations. The article earning the most attention was William J. Novak’s “The Myth of the "Weak" American State,” in the June 2008 issue, which is also the subject of a forum in the June 2010 issue (now in the mail). This was followed by David Eltis, Philip Morgan, David Richardson’s essay on “Agency and Diaspora in Atlantic History: Reassessing the African Contribution to Rice Cultivation in the Americas” (December 2007), Eliga H. Gould, “Entangled Histories, Entangled Worlds: The English-speaking Atlantic as a Spanish Periphery“(June 2007), Nick Cullather, “The Foreign Policy of the Calorie” (April 2007), and Caroline Ford, “Reforestation, Landscape Conservation, and the Anxieties of Empire in French Colonial Algeria” (April 2008).