Strategic workshop

By woodley wonderworks

A strategic workshop on Research Communities and Research Infrastructures in the Humanities was organised in Strasbourg (France) on 29-30 October 2010, to gather different research communities’ perspectives on scholarly-driven design and use of research infrastructures in the humanities by attracting contributions from European scholars across a wide range of disciplines representing different research languages and interests over RIs related issues around five thematic sessions on suggested questions to be addressed during each session:

1.    Research communities and adoption of research infrastructures
The emergence and establishment of research communities around the adoption of new technologies for research in the humanities raise broad issues: from the necessity to bridge traditional research infrastructures (e.g. museums, libraries, archives) and digital research infrastructures to fragmentation of efforts and awareness of best practices, from training and education to impact and academic recognition.

2.    Re-purposing and re-use of data
The engagement of researchers in the remediation of artefacts, the repurposing and reuse of data in the digital environment have an impact on research methods, practices, tools and facilities in the humanities still to be assessed.

3.    Text vs. non text
The heterogeneous typology of research infrastructures in the humanities needs to be framed so as to encompass research practices associated both to textual and non textual material.

 4.    Disciplinary vs. interdisciplinary resources
The interdisciplinary avenues of research resulting from the engagement with advanced methods and adoption of digital technologies raise policy issues such as academic recognition and evaluation of interdisciplinary research.

5.    Integrating extant resources
Past, ongoing and planned attempts at providing humanities scholars with digital research infrastructures that integrate extant intellectual as well as technical resources face delicate and complex issues such as regulation of access across scholarly cultures and languages, and provision of high standard long term services.

Among others, contributions from the coordinators of the ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) RIs DARIAH and CLARIN as well as from representatives of current ESF activities in the Humanities with a RI dimension together with the input of early career researchers featured in the workshop programme. An SOC (formerly SCSS) observer attended the workshop (in light of eventual future joint initiatives between the Standing Committee for the Humanities and the Standing Committee for the Social Sciences).

This workshop was particularly timely also in light of the ongoing ESF Member Organisation Forum on RIs and the scope of the EC funded MERIL (Mapping of European Research Infrastructure Landscape) project. Participation (unfunded) was open to a limited number of non-speakers, ranking from ESF Member Organisations and policy level representatives to Research Infrastructures providers and researchers based all over Europe.

The outcome of the workshop has informed the HUM (formerly SCH) Working Group's preparation of an ESF science policy publication on Research Infrastructures in the Humanities.