Open Science in the Humanities, or: Open Humanities?

Author : Marcel Knöchelmann

Open science refers to both the practices and norms of more open and transparent communication and research in scientific disciplines and the discourse on these practices and norms.

There is no such discourse dedicated to the humanities. Though the humanities appear to be less coherent as a cluster of scholarship than the sciences are, they do share unique characteristics which lead to distinct scholarly communication and research practices.

A discourse on making these practices more open and transparent needs to take account of these characteristics. The prevalent scientific perspective in the discourse on more open practices does not do so, which confirms that the discourse’s name, open science, indeed excludes the humanities so that talking about open science in the humanities is incoherent.

In this paper, I argue that there needs to be a dedicated discourse for more open research and communication practices in the humanities, one that integrates several elements currently fragmented into smaller, unconnected discourses (such as on open access, preprints, or peer review).

I discuss three essential elements of open science—preprints, open peer review practices, and liberal open licences—in the realm of the humanities to demonstrate why a dedicated open humanities discourse is required.

URL : Open Science in the Humanities, or: Open Humanities?


Science and its significant other: Representing the humanities in bibliometric scholarship

Authors : Thomas Franssen, Paul Wouters

The cognitive and social structures, and publication practices, of the humanities have been studied bibliometrically for the past 50 years. This article explores the conceptual frameworks, methods, and data sources used in bibliometrics to study the nature of the humanities, and its differences and similarities in comparison with other scientific domains.

We give a historical overview of bibliometric scholarship between 1965 and 2018 that studies the humanities empirically and distinguishes between two periods in which the configuration of the bibliometric system differs remarkably.

The first period, 1965 to the 1980s, is characterized by bibliometric methods embedded in a sociological theoretical framework, the development and use of the Price Index, and small samples of journal publications from which references are used as data sources.

The second period, the 1980s to the present day, is characterized by a new intellectual hinterland—that of science policy and research evaluation—in which bibliometric methods become embedded.

Here metadata of publications becomes the primary data source with which publication profiles of humanistic scholarly communities are analyzed. We unpack the differences between these two periods and critically discuss the analytical avenues that different approaches offer.

URL : Science and its significant other: Representing the humanities in bibliometric scholarship


Collaboration, Consultation, or Transaction: Modes of Team Research in Humanities Scholarship and Strategies for Library Engagement

Authors : Megan Senseney, Eleanor Dickson Koehl, Leanne Nay

With the rise of digital scholarship, humanists are participating in increasingly complex research teams and partnerships, and academic libraries are developing innovative service models to meet their needs.

This paper explores modes of coworking in humanities research by synthesizing responses from two qualitative studies of research practices in the humanities and proposes a taxonomy of multiperson research that includes collaborative, consultative, and transactional research partnerships among scholars, graduate students, academic staff, and a range of other potential stakeholders.

Based on an analysis of humanities scholars’ self-described research behaviors, we provide recommendations for academic librarians who are developing and sustaining service models for digital scholarship.

URL : Collaboration, Consultation, or Transaction: Modes of Team Research in Humanities Scholarship and Strategies for Library Engagement


Common Struggles: Policy-based vs. scholar-led approaches to open access in the humanities

Author : Samuel A. Moore

Open access publishing (OA) not only removes price and permission restrictions to academic research, but also represents an opportunity to reassess what publishing means to the humanities.

OA is increasingly on the agenda for humanities researchers in the UK, having been mandated in various forms by universities and governmental funders strongly influenced by advocates in the STEM disciplines.

Yet publishing practices in the humanities are unique to the field and any move to a new system of scholarly communication has the potential to conflict with the ways in which humanities research is published, many of which are shaped by the expectations of the neoliberal university that uniquely impact on the practices of humanities researchers.

Furthermore, OA does not reflect a unified ideology, business model or political outlook, and different methods of publication based on open practices will inherently represent a variety of values, struggles or conceptual enclosures.

This thesis assesses the contrasting values and practices of different approaches to OA in the humanities through a series of case-studies on governmental and scholar-led forms of OA, explored through a critical methodology comprising both constructivism and deconstruction.

The thesis argues that the UK governmental policy framework, comprised of policies introduced by the Research Councils (RCUK) and Higher Education Funding Councils (HEFCE), promotes a form of OA that intends to minimise disruption to the publishing industry.

The scholar-led ecosystem of presses, in contrast, reflects a diversity of values and struggles that represent a counter-hegemonic alternative to the dominant cultures of OA and publishing more generally.

The values of each approach are analysed on a spectrum between the logic of choice versus the logic of care (following the work of Annemarie Mol) to illustrate how the governmental policies promote a culture of OA predominantly focused on tangible outcomes, whereas the scholar-led presses prioritise an ethic of care for the cultures of how humanities research is produced and published.

In prioritising a commitment to care, scholar-led presses display a praxis that resembles the kinds of activities and relationships centred on common resource management (‘commoning’).

The thesis concludes with a series of recommendations for how such care-full values could be best realised in an emancipatory commons-based ecosystem of OA publishing for the humanities, which would be cultivated through a range of institutions and political interventions.


Joining Voices: University – Industry Partnerships in the Humanities

Authors : Lynne Siemens, The INKE Research Group

University-industry partnerships are common in the Sciences, but less so in the Humanities. As a result, there is little understanding of how they work in the Humanities.

Using the Implementing New Knowledge Environments: Networked Open Social Scholarship (INKE:NOSS) initiative as a case study, this paper contributes to this discussion by examining the nature of the university-industry partnership with libraries and academic-adjacent organizations, and associated benefits, challenges, measures of success, and outcomes.

Interviews were conducted with the collaboration’s industry partners. After several years of collaboration on the development of a grant application, industry partners have found the experience of working with academics to be a positive one overall.

Industry partners are contributing primarily in-kind resources in the form of staff time, travel to meetings, and reading and commenting on documents. They have also been able to realize benefits while negotiating the challenges.

Using qualitative standards, measures of success and desired outcomes are being articulated. This work developing the partnership should stand the larger INKE:NOSS team in good stead if they are successful with securing grant funding.

URL : Joining Voices: University – Industry Partnerships in the Humanities


Scholarly Communication Practices in Humanities and Social Sciences: A Study of Researchers’ Attitudes and Awareness of Open Access

Authors: Bhuva Narayan, Edward J. Luca, Belinda Tiffen, Ashley England, Mal Booth, Henry Boateng

This paper examines issues relating to the perceptions and adoption of open access (OA) and institutional repositories. Using a survey research design, we collected data from academics and other researchers in the humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS) at a university in Australia.

We looked at factors influencing choice of publishers and journal outlets, as well as the use of social media and nontraditional channels for scholarly communication.

We used an online questionnaire to collect data and used descriptive statistics to analyse the data. Our findings suggest that researchers are highly influenced by traditional measures of quality, such as journal impact factor, and are less concerned with making their work more findable and promoting it through social media.

This highlights a disconnect between researchers’ desired outcomes and the efforts that they put in toward the same. Our findings also suggest that institutional policies have the potential to increase OA awareness and adoption.

This study contributes to the growing literature on scholarly communication by offering evidence from the HASS field, where limited studies have been conducted.

Based on the findings, we recommend that academic librarians engage with faculty through outreach and workshops to change perceptions of OA and the institutional repository.

URL : Scholarly Communication Practices in Humanities and Social Sciences: A Study of Researchers’ Attitudes and Awareness of Open Access


Building a Disciplinary, World‐Wide Data Infrastructure

Authors: Françoise Genova, Christophe Arviset, Bridget M. Almas, Laura Bartolo, Daan Broeder, Emily Law, Brian McMahon

Sharing scientific data with the objective of making it discoverable, accessible, reusable, and interoperable requires work and presents challenges being faced at the disciplinary level to define in particular how the data should be formatted and described.

This paper represents the Proceedings of a session held at SciDataCon 2016 (Denver, 12–13 September 2016). It explores the way a range of disciplines, namely materials science, crystallography, astronomy, earth sciences, humanities and linguistics, get organized at the international level to address those challenges. T

he disciplinary culture with respect to data sharing, science drivers, organization, lessons learnt and the elements of the data infrastructure which are or could be shared with others are briefly described. Commonalities and differences are assessed.

Common key elements for success are identified: data sharing should be science driven; defining the disciplinary part of the interdisciplinary standards is mandatory but challenging; sharing of applications should accompany data sharing. Incentives such as journal and funding agency requirements are also similar.

For all, social aspects are more challenging than technological ones. Governance is more diverse, often specific to the discipline organization. Being problem‐driven is also a key factor of success for building bridges to enable interdisciplinary research.

Several international data organizations such as CODATA, RDA and WDS can facilitate the establishment of disciplinary interoperability frameworks. As a spin‐off of the session, a RDA Disciplinary Interoperability Interest Group is proposed to bring together representatives across disciplines to better organize and drive the discussion for prioritizing, harmonizing and efficiently articulating disciplinary needs.

URL : Building a Disciplinary, World‐Wide Data Infrastructure