Beyond borders: Examining the role of national learned societies in the social sciences and humanities

Authors : Elina LateRaf GunsJanne PölönenJadranka StojanovskiMimi UrbancMichael Ochsner

The aim of this paper is to examine the status of national learned societies in social sciences and humanities (SSH) in Europe. Previous research shows that learned societies serve diverse roles in higher education and suggests that national societies come under pressure given different developments, such as internationalization or open science adoption.

We investigate a comprehensive range of aspects within national learned societies: primary goals, activities, internationalization, organization, funding, membership, and recent changes, addressing potential pressures arising from them. Using a cross-national survey involving 194 learned societies across eight European countries, we study: (a) do the previous findings from individual countries or small selections of national societies hold for a broad range of learned societies in SSH across Europe, and (b) are national learned societies coming under pressure due to internationalization and commercialization processes?

Our findings confirm previous results from single countries and single disciplines and expand them as our results show that national learned societies in SSH play an important role in Europe in promoting multilingualism in science, collaborating with many stakeholders, and fostering interdisciplinarity. Contrary to previous research, most SSH societies in our study have not undergone significant changes in the past 5 years, challenging expectations of their declining role.

URL : Beyond borders: Examining the role of national learned societies in the social sciences and humanities

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1609

More than data repositories: perceived information needs for the development of social sciences and humanities research infrastructures

Authors : Anna Sendra, Elina Late, Sanna Kumpulainen

Introduction

The digitalization of social sciences and humanities research necessitates research infrastructures. However, this transformation is still incipient, highlighting the need to better understand how to successfully support data-intensive research.

Method

Starting from a case study of building a national infrastructure for conducting data-intensive research, this study aims to understand the information needs of digital researchers regarding the facility and explore the importance of evaluation in its development.

Analysis

Thirteen semi-structured interviews with social sciences and humanities scholars and computer and data scientists processed through a thematic analysis revealed three themes (developing a research infrastructure, needs and expectations of the research infrastructure, and an approach to user feedback and user interactions).

Results

Findings reveal that developing an infrastructure for conducting data-intensive research is a complicated task influenced by contrasting information needs between social sciences and humanities scholars and computer and data scientists, such as the demand for increased support of the former. Findings also highlight the limited role of evaluation in its creation.

Conclusions

The development of infrastructures for conducting data-intensive research requires further discussion that particularly considers the disciplinary differences between social sciences and humanities scholars and computer and data scientists. Suggestions on how to better design this kind of facilities are also raised.

URL : More than data repositories: perceived information needs for the development of social sciences and humanities research infrastructures

DOI : https://doi.org/10.47989/ir284598

The Uptake and Impact of a Label for Peer-Reviewed Books

Authors : Eline Vandewalle, Raf Guns, Tim C. E. Engels

This article presents an analysis of the uptake of the GPRC label (Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content label) since its introduction in 2010 until 2019. GPRC is a label for books that have been peer reviewed introduced by the Flemish publishers association.

The GPRC label allows locally published scholarly books to be included in the regional database for the Social Sciences and Humanities which is used in the Flemish performance-based research funding system. Ten years after the start of the GPRC label, this is the first systematic analysis of the uptake of the label.

We use a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods. Our two main data sources are the Flemish regional database for the Social Sciences and Humanities, which currently includes 2,580 GPRC-labeled publications, and three interviews with experts on the GPRC label. Firstly, we study the importance of the label in the Flemish performance-based research funding system.

Secondly, we analyse the label in terms of its possible effect on multilingualism and the local or international orientation of publications. Thirdly, we analyse to what extent the label has been used by the different disciplines.

Lastly, we discuss the potential implications of the label for the peer review process among book publishers. We find that the GPRC label is of limited importance to the Flemish performance-based research funding system.

However, we also conclude that the label has a specific use for locally oriented book publications and in particular for the discipline Law. Furthermore, by requiring publishers to adhere to a formalized peer review procedure, the label affects the peer review practices of local publishers because not all book publishers were using a formal system of peer review before the introduction of the label and even at those publishers who already practiced peer review, the label may have required the publishers to make these procedures more uniform.

URL : The Uptake and Impact of a Label for Peer-Reviewed Books

DOI : https://doi.org/10.3389/frma.2021.746452

The renewal of the digital humanities. An overview of the transformation of professions in the humanities and social sciences

Authors : Marie-Laure Massot, Agnès Tricoche

This article presents a study of the French-speaking digital humanities. It is based on the experience of two research engineers from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) who have been studying these issues for the last ten years.

They conducted a survey at the École Normale Supérieure (ENS-Paris) which enabled them to draw up an overview of the transformation of the profession of humanities and social sciences research engineers in the context of the digital humanities.

The Digit_Hum initiative, which they run in parallel with their respective activities at the ENS, also provided information for this overview thanks to its role as a space for discussion about the digital humanities along with training and structuring of this field at the ENS and the Université Paris Sciences & Lettres (PSL).

URL : The renewal of the digital humanities. An overview of the transformation of professions in the humanities and social sciences

DOI : https://doi.org/10.46298/jdmdh.7552

The case for an inclusive scholarly communication infrastructure for social sciences and humanities

Authors : Maciej Maryl, Marta Błaszczyńska, Agnieszka Szulińska, Paweł Rams

This article presents a vision for a scholarly communication research infrastructure for social sciences and humanities (SSH). The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the pressing need to access research outputs without the traditional economic and temporal barriers.

This article explores the current scholarly communication landscape, assessing the reasons for the slower uptake of open access in SSH research. The authors discuss such frontiers as commercial interests, sources of academic prestige and discipline-specific genres.

This article defines and discusses the key areas in which a research infrastructure can play a vital role in making open scholarly communication a reality in SSH: (1) providing a federated and easy access to scattered SSH outputs; (2) supporting publication and dissemination of discipline-specific genres (e.g. monographs, critical editions); (3) providing help with evaluation and quality assurance practices in SSH; (4) enabling scholarly work in national languages, which is significant for local communities; (5) being governed by researchers and for researchers as a crucial factor for productive, useful and accessible services; (6) lastly, considering the needs of other stakeholders involved in scholarly communication, such as publishers, libraries, media, non-profit organisations, and companies.

They conclude that a scholarly-driven, inclusive, dedicated infrastructure for the European Research Area is needed in order to advance open science in SSH and to address the issues tackled by SSH researchers at a structural and systemic level.

URL : The case for an inclusive scholarly communication infrastructure for social sciences and humanities

DOI : https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.26545.1

Tracing the context in disciplinary classifications: A bibliometric pairwise comparison of five classifications of journals in the social sciences and humanities

Authors : Linda Sīle, Raf Guns, Frédéric Vandermoere, Gunnar Sivertsen, Tim C. E. Engels

Despite the centrality of disciplinary classifications in bibliometric analyses, it is not well known how the choice of disciplinary classification influences bibliometric representations of research in the social sciences and humanities (SSH).

This is especially crucial when using data from national databases. Therefore, we examine the differences in the disciplinary profile of an article along with the absolute and relative number of articles across disciplines using five disciplinary classifications for journals. We use data on journal articles (2006–2015) from the national bibliographic databases VABB-SHW in Flanders (Belgium) and Cristin in Norway.

Our study is based on pairwise comparisons of the local classifications used in these databases, the Web of Science subject categories, the Science-Metrix, and the ERIH PLUS journal classifications.

For comparability, all classifications are mapped to the OECD Fields of Research and Development classification. The findings show that the choice of disciplinary classification can lead to over- or underestimation of the absolute number of publications per discipline.

In contrast, if the focus is on the relative numbers, the choice of classification has practically no influence. These findings facilitate an informed choice of a disciplinary classification for journals in SSH when using data from national databases.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1162/qss_a_00110

Funding Sources for Open Access Article Processing Charges in the Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities in the United States

Authors : Melissa H. Cantrell, Juleah A. Swanson

Article processing charges (APCs) are one method of many to ensure open access to research literature, but studies that explore the funding sources for such payments, especially as related to open access publications in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, have been limited.

This study seeks to understand the range of funding sources that are available and used by faculties in these disciplines to pay for APCs associated with publishing in open access journals, as well as attitudes towards and awareness of available institutional funds that may inflect future engagement with open access publishing.

The authors distributed a survey to faculty who had an open access journal article published in 2017 from three doctoral granting, high research activity universities in the United States.

Twenty-two scholars participated in the final survey, ten of whom indicated that they paid an APC for their publication. While the results cannot make generalizations about funding sources, they do suggest that both the prevalence of APCs as well as attitudes about open access engagement may be influenced by disciplinary self-identification.

This research contributes to discussions around the future of open access funding models as well as to disciplinary outreach regarding APC funding for journal publications.

URL : Funding Sources for Open Access Article Processing Charges in the Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities in the United States

DOI : https://doi.org/10.3390/publications8010012