“Downstream from the Digital Humanities” Working Meeting at University of Zadar, Croatia

—Report on the Working Meeting by Eva Kekou and Christina Kamposiori

In May 2014, scholars and professionals from multidisciplinary backgrounds attended the ‘Downstream from the Digital Humanities’ working meeting which was hosted at the University of Zadar in Croatia.

The workshop was an event of the Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities (NeDiMAH) and it was led by Trinity College Dublin. Its purpose was to gather researchers and other professionals interested in the different aspects of scholarly communication in Digital Humanities. Thus, the group of participants represented the various perspectives of the topic under investigation; these ranged from institutional (e.g. libraries, funding institutions) to scholarly (Humanities & Computer Science) and industry related (publishing).

The first day of the workshop included paper presentation on the areas of scholarly habits and their impact downstream; collaboration and communication of research results; forms of expression in humanities and social sciences scholarship; impact and audiences. The papers presented in each of the above areas were followed by extensive discussion on the issues raised.

However, the second day of the event was devoted to the production of the workshop outcome. For that purpose, smaller groups were formed based on the participants’ expertise and the issues under exploration. The task was to create an outline of all the major aspects of scholarly communication drawn and discussed during the first day; this could eventually lead to the creation of a position paper on the nature of Digital Humanities communication and publication ecosystem.

The session proved to be very productive and, as a result, the groups came up with a structured and detailed document illustrating many of the major aspects concerning the landscape of humanistic communication in the digital age. More specifically, the issues identified and put together to constitute the workshop’s outcome were related to digital scholarship and academic career; communication, publication and evaluation of research outputs in the digital age; access and copyright; collaboration; digital services and infrastructures.

Most importantly, though, the process of creating the results of the meeting led to new questions which challenged existing notions and ideas regarding the way humanities scholars communicate and collaborate in the digital age. How can we evaluate digital scholarship? How is it best to cite online resources and other digital scholarly outputs? What can we do to tackle issues regarding copyright and access to resources? What strategies should we follow in order to ensure reliability and sustainability of digital scholarly outputs and what role do digital infrastructures play in this?

These are only some of the core questions raised as a result of the workshop concerning the scholarly communication ecosystem in the Digital Humanities. The report, which was ultimately produced, is available through the event’s webpage and it provides a rich insight into the discussions of the meeting. A list of the participants is also included.

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