Reshaping How Universities Can Evaluate the Research Impact of Open Humanities for Societal Benefit

Authors : Paul Longley Arthur, Lydia Hearn

During the twenty-first century, for the first time, the volume of digital data has surpassed the amount of analog data. As academic practices increasingly become digital, opportunities arise to reshape the future of scholarly communication through more accessible, interactive, open, and transparent methods that engage a far broader and more diverse public.

Yet despite these advances, the research performance of universities and public research institutes remains largely evaluated through publication and citation analysis rather than by public engagement and societal impact.

This article reviews how changes to bibliometric evaluations toward greater use of altmetrics, including social media mentions, could enhance uptake of open scholarship in the humanities.

In addition, the article highlights current challenges faced by the open scholarship movement, given the complexity of the humanities in terms of its sources and outputs that include monographs, book chapters, and journals in languages other than English; the use of popular media not considered as scholarly papers; the lack of time and energy to develop digital skills among research staff; problems of authority and trust regarding the scholarly or non-academic nature of social media platforms; the prestige of large academic publishing houses; and limited awareness of and familiarity with advanced digital applications.

While peer review will continue to be a primary method for evaluating research in the humanities, a combination of altmetrics and other assessment of research impact through different data sources may provide a way forward to ensure the increased use, sustainability, and effectiveness of open scholarship in the humanities.


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?


Public Scholarship in Practice and Philosophy

Authors : Erin Glass, Micah Vandegrift

This piece offers several threads that bind an ideal together: there are practical actions to increase the public-ness of scholarship, increasingly compelling reasons to adopt an outward-orientation, as well as many challenges to performing public scholarship in higher education.

We propose that a more public scholarly practice can be sought through the dissemination of research products, the processes by which research and scholarship are conducted, opening pedagogy beyond the classroom, developing soft skills as a public intellectual, and increasing visibility with/in communities.