Open Access to Humanities Data —a scholarly perspectiveLaurent RomaryInria — French national research centerin computer scienceHumboldt University Berlin
Personal background• Former chair of the TEI council and current chair of ISOcommittee TC 37/SC 4 (language resources)– Importance of standards for a sustainable digitalhumanities landscape• Advisor for scientific information at Inria– Deposit mandate issued in Jan. 2013• Director of DARIAH — European e-infrastructure in thearts and humanities– Facilitating the deployment of digital methods and contentin the humanities
Context• Huge progress on open access to publications– Increasing role of publication repositories — cf. TARA atTCD– 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, missingtechnical infrastructure?
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 availableelsewhere• 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
What benefits accrue from open access toHumanities 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 thewide public• Humanities data are cultural heritage data– General public interest
If this data is made available online forfree, who is funding this free access?• This is usually not an issue in other scientific fields– Scientific data management as part of researchinfrastructures– Open access is just a dimension of the infrastructure• Devil’s advocate– There could be some nice business to be made withcultural heritage data…– But is this our business?• Facing the reality– We may have to pay archives, libraries or publishers…. Ormaybe not.
Is open access to Humanities datasustainable?• A general technical question for digitalinformation– Legibility: standards– Preservation: long term archiving– Technical availability and access• A possible model: the library– Open access to humanities data as part of thescientific information services within universities, etc.• A need for a long-term strategy withininstitutions
What sort of use and re-use is made ofshared 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 abaseline• Greg Crane:“I consider open data to be essential for emerging digitalscholarship - researchers must be free to download, analyze,annotate, modify, and then republish their textual sources. ”
What are the major challenges of sharingHumanities 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, assessmentpanels, recruiting panels and academies)• Recognition of digital scholarly acheivements
Humanities data manifesto?• Scholarly editions of primary sources are anessential component of the research processin the humanities• Digital editions should be published as early aspossible and be taken into account in theassessment of scholarly achievements• Traditional publishing in print should beaccompanied by an openly accessible onlineversion