Journals and Academic Research

To cite this page:

Tan, Noel Hidalgo. (8 September 2020). Journals and Academic Research. Southeast Asian Archaeology. Updated 12 September 2020. Available at:

Archaeology is just about exploration and fieldwork – the good part of it is putting the research to paper. Archaeologists, especially those working in universities and research institutes, are ethically bound to report their findings by writing research papers, which are published in academic journals. Academic journals are scholarly publications that are published periodically; they are usually centred around specific disciplines, e.g. Chemistry, Zoology and of course, Archaeology.

Research papers published in journals represent the primary source of archaeological information, because they are a permanent record of knowledge. For this reason I have a dedicated section in this website devoted to recently-published papers. These papers are usually scrutinised by other researchers before publication in order to ensure that the research is novel, significant and methodologically sound.

Archaeology Journals in Southeast Asia

Reading with caution: Telling good journals from bad journals

Over the past few decades, there has been a rise in academic papers being published across all disciplines (you can see an example of this in my rock art bibliography, comparing the amount of research produced from 2010 onwards, to the time before). While part of the rise reflects more interest in archaeology, a large part is due to the “publish or perish” mentality, which drives researchers to publish more work to meet KPIs, qualify for promotions, or obtaining bounties for publishing work. Digital publishing and print-on-demand technologies have also made it much easier for anyone to start an academic journal. Predatory journals, which on the surface look like legitimate scientific journals, promise a fast review turnaround and gaurantee publication for a fee. Using predatory journals and other dubious techniues, unethical researchers can, and have, gamed the system in order to artificially boost their research output. Not only is such behaviour unethical, it can be be criminally fraudulent.

As such, it is important to assess academic journals and research papers against a number of factors, including:

  • Peer review policy: probably the most important factor in the quality of a journal, because scrutiny by qualified experts can point out potential issues like factual inaccuracies,  problems of methodology and offer constructive comments that would make the final paper better. Review practices vary from journal to journal (eg. double blind vs single blind), but beware of journals that do not offer a peer review policy, or promise a fast review time – these are red flags.
  • Overall quality papers in the journal: self explanatory, but be cautious of journals that do not have clear editorial guidelines, or carry papers with inconsistent quality or papers that do not match the focus of the journal.
  • Age of the journal and frequency of publication: older journals tend to be more reputable, along with journals that publish multiple issues a year (which suggests that the journal gets more submissions).
  • Editorial board: is the board composed of recognised experts in the journal’s field of expertise? Where possible, double check with the members of the editorial board about their involvement. Some disreputable journals add names into the editorial board without consent or even make up names.
  • Whether the journal is indexed in a database: A citation database (also called a journal index or bibliographic database is a collection of journals, often focused around a specific theme, eg Medline for medical journals or DOAJ for Open Access journals. Generally, journals that are indexed are considered higher quality than non-indexed ones because indexes have an international selection committee and very specific criteria for inclusion. For example, a journal indexed in Scopus needs to be international, peer-reviewed, and have an ethics and publication malpractice statement at the very minimum. Anecdotally, some colleauges have reported that their research output doesn’t “count” unless it is published in journals indexed by Web of Science by Clarivate or Scopus by Elsevier. Some countries also maintain their own citation indexes, such as the Thai Journal Citation Index and the Malaysian Citation Index.

Just because a journal is not indexed does not make it a bad journal. There are good reasons why a journal may not be indexed in a major index such as having a limited regional scope, or not being published in English. In those cases, more attention should be paid to the other factors listed above.

The list below are journals relevant to Southeast Asian Archaeology: they are archaeology journals published by institutions located in Southeast Asia; journals that have historically published archaeological research relevant to Southeast Asia; or are international archaeology journals that often publish research about Southeast Asia. (I myself am the editor of an international academic journal as part of my day job at SEAMEO SPAFA: the SPAFA Journal publishes research about the archaeology and fine (traditional) arts of Southeast Asia.) A number of these journals are indexed in Scopus, while some have a very specific region or language focus and are considered specialty journals. I have previously commented on how there is a bias towards English as the language of science and technology, which makes the dissemination of knowledge difficult in a region where English is not the main language. Ultimately, journals are run by humans and may evolve over time, so it is important to periodically check their quality against reputable indexes and against their own publication record.

As always, this is a work in progress. Please let me know if there is a journal that should be included (or otherwise) in this list.

List of Archaeology Journals related to Southeast Asia

  • Amerta – [In Bahasa] Jurnal Penelitian dan Pengembangan Arkeologi merupakan sarana publikasi dan informasi hasil penelitian dan pengembangan di bidang arkeologi dan ilmu terkait. Amerta diterbitkan oleh Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi Nasional, Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan.
  • Asian Archaeology – Publishes articles on all aspects of Asian Archaeology
  • Asian Culture and History – Published by the Canadian Center of Science and Education, Asian Culture and History covers topics such as culture, history, arts, anthropology, archaeology, religion, and linguistics.
  • Asian PerspectivesAsian Perspectives is a peer-reviewed journal focusing on the archaeology of Asia and the Pacific region. Articles from 1955-2008 are available online for download.
  • Antiquity – Covering world archaeology, but of recent years has featured many Southeast Asian papers.
  • Archaeological Research in Asia – Archaeological Research in Asia presents high quality scholarly research conducted in between the Bosporus and the Pacific on a broad range of archaeological subjects of importance to audiences across Asia and around the world.
  • Berkala Arkeologi – Berkala Arkeologi is a biannual journal by Balai Arkeologi D.I. Yogyakarta. This journal seeks to promote archaeological research, as well as to share those research to the public.
  • Berkala Arkeologi Sangkhakala – Berkala Arkeologi Sangkhakala is a peer-reviewed journal published biannual by the Balai Arkeologi Sumatera Utara in May and November. Berkala Arkeologi Sangkhakala aims to publish research papers, reviews and studies covering the disciplines of archaeology, anthropology, history, ethnography, and culture in general.
  • Bulletin de l’ecole Francaise d’Extreme-Orient – One of the oldest Asian studies journals, BEFEO publishes in French and English. Archives available from 1901-2003.
  • Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory AssociationAnother international peer-reviewed journal for archaeology in Southeast Asia, East Asia and the Pacific. Journal is open access.
  • Damrong – The archaeology journal of Silpakorn University.
  • Forum Arkeologi – Forum Arkeologi Journal as a media for disseminating various information related to culture in the past, based on the results of archaeological research and cultural scientific studies. Forum Arkeologi Journal is a scientific journal published by Balai Arkeologi Bali.
  • Hukay – The journal of the University of the Philippines’ Archaeological Studies Programme.
  • Indonesia (Journal) – From the website: “Indonesia Journal”, is a semi-annual journal devoted to the timely study of Indonesia’s culture, history, government, economy, and society. It features original scholarly articles, interviews, translations, and book reviews. Published since April 1966, the journal provides area scholars and interested readers with contemporary analysis of Indonesia and an extensive archive of research pertaining to the nation and region. The journal is published by Cornell University’s Southeast Asia Program.” Articles dated before 2000 are available free for download.
  • Journal of Burma Studies – One of the few peer-reviewed journals focusing on Myanmar.
  • Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society – Originally Journal of the Straits Branch, and then Malayan Branch and now the Straits Branch, the journal first published in 1878 and contains many scholarly articles on the culture, history and archaeology of Malaysia and its peoples.
  • Journal of the Siam Society – Established in 1904, the Journal of the Siam Society publishes original scholarly articles in English pertaining to Thailand. Articles are Open Access from 1904 – 2011.
  • Jurnal Arkeologi Malaysia – [In Bahasa] Jurnal Arkeologi Malaysia (JAM) diterbitkan dua kali setahun pada bulan April dan September oleh Ikatan Ahli Arkeologi Malaysia dengan kerjasama Kumpulan Penyelidikan Kebudayaan, Kesenian dan Peradaban Melayu (KKPM), Institut Alam dan Tamadun Melayu, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
  • Jurnal Tomotowa – [In Bahasa] Jurnal Tumotowa merupakan sarana publikasi dan informasi hasil penelitian dan pengembangan di bidang arkeologi dan ilmu terkait. Jurnal Tumotowa diterbitkan oleh Balai Arkeologi Sulawesi Utara, Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan.
  • Kapata Arkeologi – Kapata Arkeologi is an open access, peer-reviewed journal published and imprinted by Balai Arkeologi Maluku under direction Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi Nasional, Badan Penelitian dan Pengembangan Kemdikbud.
  • Kalpataru – [In Bahasa] KALPATARU, Majalah Arkeologi adalah publikasi ilmiah yang diterbitkan oleh Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi Nasional, Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan. Jurnal ini bertujuan untuk menerbitkan artikel-artikel ilmiah bersifat tematik hasil penelitian dan pengembangan terkini dalam bidang arkeologi seperti kimia, biologi, geologi, paleontologi, dan antropologi.
  • Muang Boran Journal – A journal dealing with Thai Archaeology.
  • Naditira Widya – One of the publications of Balai Arkeologi Kalimantan Selatan (Banjarmasin Institute of Archaeology) that broadcast the results of archaeological research and development with regard to ideas and researches of researchers, academics, students or observers of archaeological and cultural heritage issues which will be of benefit to the public.
  • Papua – Journal of Papua is published twice a year in June and November by the Balai Arkeologi Papua. The Papua Journal contains the results of research, conceptual ideas, studies and the application of theory relating to archaeology.
  • Pratu – the Journal of Buddhist and Hindu Art, Architecture and Archaeology of Ancient to Premodern Southeast Asia is an initiative of a group of research students in the Department of History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS University of London in collaboration with departmental mentors. The journal is funded by the Alphawood Foundation, under the auspices of the Southeast Asian Art Academic Programme (SAAAP).
  • Purbawidya – Purbawidya publishes original research articles, review articles and case studies focused on Archaeological research and development.
  • Siddhayatra – Siddhayatra is a peer-reviewed journal of archaeological study which is managed by Editorial Boards of Archaeological Service Office for South Sumatera.
  • Siksacakr – Siksacakr: The Journal of Cambodia Research, a peer-reviewed journal (articles are submitted to members of the editorial board and anonymously reviewed by external referees), aims to bridge the worlds of Khmer, Francophone and Anglophone scholarship on Cambodia. Siksacakr stands for the “Wheel of Knowledge”, reflecting the journal’s role in both circulating new scholarship and turning the wheels of access and scholarly communication.
  • Southeast Asian Archaeology Repository of Knowledge – A repository maintained by the Nalanda-Sriwajaya Centre hosting published and unpublished reports on Southeast Asian archaeology.
  • SPAFA Journal – The journal of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre of Archaeology and Fine Arts (SPAFA). Page links to four micro-sites, the current SPAFA Journal, the old SPAFA Journal (1991-2013), the SPAFA Digest (1980-1990) and various SPAFA Publications. [Disclosure: I serve as the Managing Editor for the SPAFA Journal in as part of my duties at SEAMEO SPAFA]
  • Udaya – Udaya was founded in 2000 by Ang Chouléan and Ashley Thompson as the official research publication of the Department of Culture and Monuments of the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA), a then nascent interministerial organ of the Cambodian government.
  • Wacana – the Journal of the Humanities of Indonesia is a scholarly journal of the Faculty of Humanities, Universitas Indonesia, and is a medium for scholarly discussion, description, and surveys concerning literature, linguistics, archaeology, history, philosophy, library and information studies, religion, art, and interdisciplinary studies. The journal is published twice a year.
  • WalennaE – WalennaE Journal is published by Balai Arkeologi Sulawesi Selatan as a way of publication and information on research results in the archaeology and related sciences. This journal is intended for the development of science as a reference that can be accessed by researchers, students, and the general public.

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