IAPH Guidelines for Professional Standards
These guidelines address issues often raised by our members in relation to working within the field of history. It is the aim of these guidelines to answer some of these questions, to encourage best practice and to outline the core values that underlie IAPH.
Please note that members’ views are their own.
- IAPH AND THE HISTORIAN
As laid out in our constitution the aim of IAPH is to “provide a professional affiliation and platform for historians; provide access to the quality assured professional historical services of IAPH members for individuals, groups and organisations through a database of member profiles; encourage professional development through the provision of specialized training for its members; promote excellence in historical research and encourage the study of the past among professionals and the general public; facilitate collaboration and co-operation among historians through the provision of scheduled events.”
Membership of the organization is open to “all individuals that have gained an appropriate professional degree of training or who are deemed to have contributed significantly to the area of historical studies. Accordingly, members should: a. in the case of professional historians, hold a PhD or have made a significant contribution to the field of history (in the case of the latter applications are subject to peer review); b. in the case of graduate historians, hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and be enrolled in a PhD programme in history or cognate subject.”
- RELATIONSHIP WITH COLLEAGUES AND THE PROFESSION
IAPH represents a diverse group of scholars from varying backgrounds, who utilise a range of methodologies and approaches in the field of historical enquiry. Acknowledgement and appreciation of the multiple ways in which scholars consider the past is a core value of IAPH. While it is accepted that scholars will not always agree on particular aspects of historical research, it is expected that in such circumstances the grounds for disagreement will be fairly stated. IAPH encourages its members to treat the views and opinions of other scholars with respect and courtesy, even when disagreeing with such views and opinions. Indeed, IAPH aims to facilitate collaboration and cooperation among scholars, and counts on its members to act in a considerate manner in all professional activities.
- PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES
Through its website and directory, IAPH provides a platform for members to engage with the public on matters of historical research. In doing so it is expected that all members should behave in a truthful, trustworthy and professional fashion. Members should inform themselves of and comply with any legal requirements that might affect their work. When appropriate, IAPH also encourages members to seek fees for their services.
IAPH promotes and fosters excellence in the field of historical enquiry. The highest standards of professionalism are expected from members in all aspects of their work. Members should present their evidence honestly, using appropriate methodologies to support their conclusions and providing accurate and clear reference to any source material utilised. This includes a comprehensive acknowledgment of primary source material and the scholarship and ideas of others. It also includes making every reasonable effort to make available to other scholars any cited primary sources and data, including documentation developed through interviews. The recognition of assistance from others, such as colleagues, researchers, archives, funding bodies and collaborators is recommended.
It is often the case that scholars differ in their interpretation of the past. IAPH recognises the centrality of academic freedom to the scholarly integrity and independence of all its members, and supports debate in matters of historical scholarship that is respectful, constructive and free from censorship.
Libraries, archives and repositories have individual rules for readers; in utilising the resources of such institutions, members should familiarise themselves with and comply with the appropriate regulations. Some scholars undertake research of a sensitive nature that may require ethical approval; it is the responsibility of each member to ensure that the correct permissions are given and an ethical code of practice is applied to such work.
IAPH supports transparency, fairness and equality in all decisions involving the employment and working conditions of its members. Before accepting a commission or project, members should ensure that they are suitably qualified to provide the expertise required; they should also ensure they are suitably reimbursed for this expertise. Members must always accurately and honestly present their qualifications, and are encouraged to declare any conflict of interest before undertaking professional appointments.