Professional ethics (2015-2018)

Critical reflection on our professional practice will enable us to promote quality output by historians. In 2016 professional ethics for historians figured high on the KNHG agenda. Fellow professionals from various fields joined the KNHG working group formed in 2015 on Professional ethics.

In 2016 the working group published a Position Paper on the historian’s professional identity. This document reflects the findings from three public gatherings to discuss the theme ‘Value criteria in history scholarship,’ where historians from archives, museums, heritage institutions, education and research, as well as independent historians, engaged in fruitful exchanges. In addition, reactions to the request to fellow historians to describe examples of professional and ethical dilemmas are considered in the document. The Position Paper was presented and discussed at the KNHG annual congress for historians in 2016. This discussion provided the foundation for the working group’s second stage, which culminated in the Historians’ Days in 2017. During this stage the working group focused mainly on:

  • the public role of the historian
  • ethical problems concerning digitalization
  • drafting guidelines for sources created by historians themselves.




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