Publishing and Accessibility

Historically, the humanities have been comprised of individual scholars who work alone and publish their final products in exclusive, institutional environments that can only be accessed through certain journals or university books. There is an emphasis on intellectual property and taking sole credit without recognizing or inviting the assistance of outside participation. This is what the Digital Humanities community is trying to move away from, into a social, open-sourced world where work is collaborative, accessible, and credit is spread among the people who continuously work to update and share information. By involving digital technology, the humanities no longer need to exist in a primarily physical state but instead are being altered for a medium with which people from all around the world can interact and contribute their own experience and expertise.

With this, scholarship transforms from a solitary experience to a group project as work is published on public platforms where the author(s) can receive feedback without the restrictions of exclusive licensing agreements and copyright. Publishing becomes a social act instead of the presentation of a set-in-stone final product. This leads us to the existence of platforms like Wikipedia, which may run the risk of spreading misinformation but also provides an example of the kind of global, collaborative, knowledge-distributing community that DH embodies. Traditional scholarly publishing follows a strict set of conventions that are no longer necessarily productive or beneficial in this digital day and age. Individual, institutional exclusivity is limiting and prevents the humanities from embracing the potential that digital humanists recognize with the rise of technology. There is also the risk that the service provider or company with access to privatized scholarly work could go out of business and as a result, the work could cease to become available to anyone at all. Widely digitizing information can prevent this.

At its core, the goal of Digital Humanities is to make all information as open and accessible as possible, regardless of one’s circumstance. Publishing information to the public creates an inclusive and all-encompassing environment where people from around the world can communicate their own knowledge and experiences to create something amazing without institutional boundaries. Instead of confining scholarly work to a solitary author who publishes within a narrow realm, the open-source options that accompany the internet allow for this core value of expansion and inclusivity to flourish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *