It takes a long time for an editor to have a noticeable effect on the contents of a publication such as The Accounting Historians Journal. If his predecessors have done their job well—and they have—there are sufficient manuscripts in the pipeline to fill two or three issues that will appear under his name. Those responsible for book reviewing and surveying doctoral research are well ad-vised to eschew sudden changes in form or content, absent com-pelling reasons that so far have not presented themselves. In short, readers of the Journal can expect the current editor to see that its standards are maintained, if not improved, but will not be able to satisfy themselves on this score for several issues to come.
It is useful, nevertheless, to review the editorial policy of the Journal, if for no other reason than to draw attention to the quality of Its contents. In recent years, many accounting journals have in-creasingly devoted themselves to model building. The ready avail-ability of computer programs, and the dominance that psychology has acquired over our intellectual life, influence accounting re-searchers to seek research problems in fields outside accounting itself. The application of quantitative or behavioral methodologies to accounting problems seems to feed upon itself, rather than upon the world of ideas and experience to which we are the heirs. The Accounting Historians Journal has demonstrated standards of ac-counting scholarship and intellectual integrity that must eventually convince more and more accounting students to start their pursuit of knowledge in its pages.
The Meaning of History
Historians establish the foundations for all human knowledge, because history, in the words of Leopold Ranke, is the written record of man. Some commentators have criticized this restriction to the written record, particularly those who advocate "oral his-tory." They argue that written history is the record of only one segment of mankind, the ruling class, and use tape recordings of elderly persons in order to throw light on the history of "the people." Such a mistake would not be made by a historian, who knows how much we have learned about the lives of ordinary people thousands of years ago through the study of clay tablets and papyri.