About the Editorial Advisory Board
SHERM is a division of the non-profit organization, FaithX Project (a religiously affiliated institute), and therefore, receives endowments from the association to maintain a significant presence within academia and the broader faith community. Nonetheless, SHERM is overseen by an independent, religiously unaffiliated Editorial Advisory Board to ensure the content of the published articles meet stringent standards of critical scholarship uninfluenced by theological or ideological allegiances.
Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry (SHERM Journal) is a not-for-profit, free peer-reviewed academic journal that publishes the latest social-scientific, historiographic, and ecclesiastic research on religious institutions and their ministerial practices. SHERM is dedicated to the critical and scholarly inquiry of historical and contemporary religious phenomena, both from within particular religious traditions and across cultural boundaries, so as to inform the broader socio-historical analysis of religion and its related fields of study.
About the Mission & Purpose
The purpose of SHERM is to provide a scholarly medium for the social-scientific study of religion where specialists can publish advanced studies on religious trends, theologies, rituals, philosophies, socio-political influences, or experimental-applied ministry research in the hopes of generating enthusiasm for the vocational and academic study of religion while fostering collegiality among religious specialists. Its mission is to provide academics, professionals, and nonspecialists with critical reflections and evidence-based insights into the socio-historical study of religion and, where appropriate, its implications for ministry and expressions of religiosity.
Learn about the kinds of research SHERM publishes here.
In partnership with the FaithX Project, SHERM is a full open access, free peer-reviewed academic journal, which means it publishes and publicly makes available religious and ministry research without charging subscription dues or publishing fees. Whereas other open access journals still require authors to pay for making their publications available, SHERM believes in making high-quality scholarship on the social-scientific study of religion accessible to the public while promoting the wide dissemination and visibility of your published article free of charge. This means that authors will never be asked for money to publish their research with SHERM.
There are a significant number of “predatory” publishing companies that attempt to take advantage of scholars and their research by charging fees; we are not one of them. As a free peer-reviewed academic journal, instead of making a profit, our goal is simply to increase the opportunity for erudite academicians to publish their work, gain a larger readership outside the confines of conventional journals, and receive citations from future researchers in the academic study of religion. For more details on how SHERM promotes and disseminates your academic research, see the Benefits of Publishing with SHERM.
SHERM believes in contributing to and advancing the academic analysis of religion in all its varied forms, including the social scientific study of religion, religious philosophy, religious history, and theology. Being an academic journal, however, entails certain assumptions (or lack thereof), ethical and pedagogical principles, and scholarly practices. Therefore, the SHERM journal and its Editorial Advisory Board strive to uphold and promote the following academic values:
1) We believe in assisting researchers and readers, academicians and students, scholars and laity with understanding and appreciating all religious belief systems throughout the world, regardless of whether the person ultimately disagrees with a particular religious viewpoint or not.
2) We believe in maintaining an unprejudicial approach to investigating religious belief systems (to the extent that is scholastically possible). While possessing religious faith does not automatically negate judicious inquiry, prioritizing one belief over another, or presuming the falsity of other systems of belief, does a disservice to the progress of knowledge and undermines the overall standards of the academy.
3) We believe in eradicating any and all hidden agendas that intend to endorse a particular belief system through the guise of pseudo-scholarship. Thus, SHERM advocates independent, critical thinking without sectarian (ecclesiastical or creedal) barriers or exploratory restrictions in research.
4) We believe in scrutinizing both faith-based presuppositions and skeptical assumptions so as to establish the burden of proof properly on anyone making a claim or defending a position. All convictions and conclusions, whether those of the author or those with whom the author rebuts, should receive fair but scrupulous consideration.
5) We believe in maintaining scholastic practices that help to eliminate a confirmation bias, special pleading, or ad hoc rationalizations in the academic study of religion through a process of both verificationism and falsificationism.