Historical Social Research

Journal's Profile

Historical Social Research (HSR) is an international peer-reviewed journal for the application of formal methods in history – it has been published by GESIS since 1976.

The application of formal methods to history covers quantitative and computer-assisted qualitative social research, historical sociology and social science history, cliometrical research, and historical informational science. In a broader sense, the field of Historical Social Research can be described as an inter-/ transdisciplinary paradigm.


"Formalization means a variety of procedures that match descriptions of events, structures, and processes with explicit models of those events, structures, and processes. Formal methods do not necessarily involve quantification or computing; analyses of linguistic, spatial, or temporal structure, for example, often proceed quite formally without computers and without any direct intervention of mathematics."

(Charles Tilly, 1929-2008)

The HSR is user-, methods-, and data-orientated, with the journal focusing on inter- and transdisciplinary research. An international editorial board is in charge of the content and, thanks to close cooperation with the network partners and user organizations within the field of historical social research, the journal participates intensively in current research discussions.

The journal has been in existence since 1976, previously known as a newsletter of the QUANTUM association named QUANTUM Information; since 1979 it is known by its current name. The HSR publishes four HSR issues plus one supplement every year, thereby publishing up to one hundred articles by international authors each year. As the QUANTUM association’s official journal, the HSR is published by GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences. Among others, more than 150 libraries worldwide are subscribers of the HSR.

In 2011 the HSR has been classified by ERIH / European Science Foundation as an international top-journal (INT1 Sub-Category) “with high visibility and influence among researchers in the various research domains in different countries, regularly cited all over the world”.