Online Journals and academic respectability

Why do the humanities seem resistant to credible online-only, open-access journals? Obviously they are not going to have the heritage of the AHR, EHR, and other journals whose worthiness has been demonstrated by longevity as well as quality. But is there room in history for legitimate e-journals? I can think of a few, but the first response when I suggested an online journal to a colleague recently was “Would it count for tenure?”.  

I don’t know why the simple fact of being online should cast doubt on a journal’s value. Given the slow publication process that seems to afflict many humanities journals (6-12 months for acceptance; 12-24 months before articles appear), I would expect many scholars to be clamouring for an opportunity to get their work out more swiftly, in a peer-reviewed venue.

How is such publication judged next to an article in a peer-reviewed print journal? I have never been on a committee making such an assessment, but my sense is that an article in Fabulous Online Research is judged as less worthy than one in Mediocre Print Journal.

The slow process of research and publication in history of course also means that citation indices are of limited value (compared to the sciences) in demonstrating a publication’s worth (especially of particular articles, which will take years to start appearing in the footnotes of other published pieces). And ranking of humanities journals by science matrices also tends to produce results very much at odds with the level of esteem in which journals are held within the discipline.

Is there some reason (other than bibliophile aesthetics or traditionalism) that online publications are deemed not as good as those in printed journals?