XML Version
Casarosa, V., Ross, S., Tammaro, A. (2016). Are the Digital Humanists Prepared for Open Access to Research Data ?. In Digital Humanities 2016: Conference Abstracts. Jagiellonian University & Pedagogical University, Kraków, p. 53.
Are the Digital Humanists Prepared for Open Access to Research Data ?

Are the Digital Humanists Prepared for Open Access to Research Data ?

This panel aims to stimulate a debate among the panelists and the audience about the challenges that the new requirements for the dissemination of research results and research data (often referred to as Science 2.0) is posing to researchers, information professionals and their institutions.

Digital technologies continue to reshape the way researchers do research. They are changing not only the way research is conducted, but also the way in which research results are published and disseminated. More and more legislators, funders, publishers, and scholarly research communities require that “research results” include curated and/or raw research data, methods and processes, tools and software, blogs and wikis, in addition to the “traditional” published material such as articles, monographs, conference proceedings, thesis, grey literature, etc..

In addition to that, we have seen in recent years the push (especially from the European Commission) towards the so called “Open Science”, where all published material should be Open Access, i.e. freely accessible by anyone interested. The main argument in favor of Open Access is that most of research is being done with public funds, with research results and research data being produced in the public interest, and therefore they should remain publicly available. Of course, Open Access does not prevent commercial exploitation and protection of the research results and the research data, with patents and copyrights.

While there is a general agreement that Open Access is desirable and ultimately should be the main mode of publication, nevertheless its implementation still presents today a number of issues, made even more apparent by the additional requirement of publishing as Open Access also the raw material underlying the research process, generically indicated as “research data”. The variety and quantity of (digital) information that needs to be processed, curated, stored, preserved, and made available in Open Access is posing new kinds of challenges to the researchers themselves (the data producers), to the information professionals dealing with that data (the data curators), and to the institutions responsible for the research activities and the data management (such as institutional repositories and libraries).

The issues range from technological issues (access to and interoperability of research data) to institutional and managerial issues (variety of institutional models and data management approaches), from financial issues (setup and maintenance of data infrastructures) to cultural and behavioral issues (reward structures as a necessary component for promoting data access and sharing practices)

Very often research in the Humanities has been done “in isolation”, i.e. by a single researcher who gathers “raw data” (sometimes over many years) and based on them produces research results. More recently we often see that Digital Humanists are working in collaborative interdisciplinary team and could be willing to share the raw data, which are the basis for the research results. However, traditional evaluation criteria are an obstacle to this new behavior, as very often only traditional publication are recognized as such. In this context it is understandable the reluctance to publish also the raw data, as they could be the basis for further traditional publications, needed to get the desired recognition.

The panel will try to discuss some of the main issues related to Open Access to research data:

  • Scholarly dissemination in the Humanities and in the Sciences
  • The economic challenges of Open Access (Gold OA, Green OA)
  • Interdisciplinary research and Open Access
  • What are “research data” in the Humanities?
  • Curation of research data (quality, accessibility, preservation)
  • The role of university presses and academic/research libraries
  • Publishing monographs or publishing in journals?
  • Career issues and academic “reward system”

Each panelists will have about five minutes to present his/her views on some of the issues mentioned above, in order to stimulate a discussion among the panelists, which (hopefully) will trigger also a debate with the audience.

Panel moderator

  • Vittore Casarosa (ISTI-CNR, Pisa, Italy)

Panel participants

  • Marin Dacos (Centre pour l’édition électronique ouverte – Cléo, France)
  • Lorna Hughes (University of Glasgow, U K)
  • Maurizio Lana (Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale, Vercelli, Italy)
  • Claudine Moulin (University of Trier, Germany)
  • Seamus Ross (University of Toronto, Canada)
  • Anna Maria Tammaro (University of Parma, Italy)