Abstract: What Makes "Interesting" Business History? Evaluation of the Most Cited Recent Business History Journal Articles

Heli Valtonen, Jari Ojala, and Jari Eloranta


This paper discusses the nature of the most cited articles in two premier journals in the field of business history—<i>Business History Review</i>, BHR (USA) and <i>Business History</i>, BH (UK). Why do scholars refer to them? Our analysis indicates that the majority of the articles citing business history scholarship are focused on their substance and novel findings; only seldom are the methods or theories represented in business history journals the target of their interest. In almost 90 percent of the cases the citations are neutral by nature; both critical and supportive ones are rare. It seems to be that the scholars citing business history articles often consider this field as providing complementary information to their own, or at least that they want to provide an acknowledgement of the empirical work done by business historians. In terms of the scope of the journals having citations to these two journals, we found that history-related journals seem to dominate the citations for BH, while in the case of BHR the scope is more diverse and interdisciplinary. It is fascinating that in both journals the average time lag between the published article and the article in which it is cited is the same: fourteen years.