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Open Access to Humanities Data — a scholarly perspective Laurent Romary Inria — French national research center in computer science Humboldt University.

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Presentation on theme: "Open Access to Humanities Data — a scholarly perspective Laurent Romary Inria — French national research center in computer science Humboldt University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Open Access to Humanities Data — a scholarly perspective Laurent Romary Inria — French national research center in computer science Humboldt University Berlin

2 Personal background Former chair of the TEI council and current chair of ISO committee TC 37/SC 4 (language resources) – Importance of standards for a sustainable digital humanities landscape Advisor for scientific information at Inria – Deposit mandate issued in Jan Director of DARIAH — European e-infrastructure in the arts and humanities – Facilitating the deployment of digital methods and content in the humanities

3 Context Huge progress on open access to publications – Increasing role of publication repositories — cf. TARA at TCD, HAL in France etc. – Towards new publication models (from blogs to epi- journals) Sharing data in the humanities is not the mainstream (yet) – We need to understand why in order to take action Scholarly reluctance, lack of recognition, missing technical infrastructure?

4 Is it wise to openly share Humanities data? Why would it be unwise? – Data can be “stolen” by other scholars Is there a risk that other scholar carry out the same research? – People could sell the data, publish it? WTH, as long as it does not prevent data to be freely available elsewhere A sensible issue: digital editions, in depth annotations – Early scholarly recognition – Competition with traditional publication means Scholars still promise a book in their project applications Is it wise not to openly share humanities data? … whenever it is possible

5 What benefits accrue from open access to Humanities data for researchers, and for citizen? Pooling scholarly results – Avoid duplication of work on primary sources Comparing and checking result – Towards more evidence in the humanities Showing that hard work is being done – Cf. more visibility to humanities research in the wide public Humanities data are cultural heritage data – General public interest

6 If this data is made available online for free, who is funding this free access? This is usually not an issue in other scientific fields – Scientific data management as part of research infrastructures – Open access is just a dimension of the infrastructure Devil’s advocate – There could be some nice business to be made with cultural heritage data… – But is this our business? Facing the reality – We may have to pay archives, libraries or publishers…. Or maybe not.

7 Is open access to Humanities data sustainable? A general technical question for digital information – Legibility: standards – Preservation: long term archiving – Technical availability and access A possible model: the library – Open access to humanities data as part of the scientific information services within universities, etc. A need for a long-term strategy within institutions

8 What sort of use and re-use is made of shared Humanities data? Why would we care? – Commercial re-use – Diverted interpretations – Bad scholarly practices in general A general trust in scholarly principles – Going digital has not changed human nature – Scholars need attribution (and thus recognition) — CC-BY as a baseline Greg Crane: “I consider open data to be essential for emerging digital scholarship - researchers must be free to download, analyze, annotate, modify, and then republish their textual sources. ”

9 What are the major challenges of sharing Humanities data? Systemic change in practices in the humanities – Technical infrastructure We need more structures like the DRI – Cultural change Scholarly fame and the “book” – Political evolution (funding agencies, assessment panels, recruiting panels and academies) Recognition of digital scholarly acheivements

10 Humanities data manifesto? Scholarly editions of primary sources are an essential component of the research process in the humanities Digital editions should be published as early as possible and be taken into account in the assessment of scholarly achievements Traditional publishing in print (if any) should be accompanied by an openly accessible online version


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