New ALLEA Report Highlights the Evolution of Digital Practices in the Humanities

In an era marked by rapid advancements in technology and an increasing emphasis on Open and digital outputs, the humanities have seen a significant transformation in their scholarly practices. To address, evaluate and recognise these changes, the report ‘Recognising Digital Scholarly Outputs in the Humanities’ sheds light on the evolving landscape of digital humanities scholarship.

Drafted by the ALLEA Working Group E-Humanities, the new report stresses that the expansion of digital practices and open outputs in humanities scholarship should be regarded as a natural progression of scholarly endeavours leveraging digital technologies. It calls for the adaptation of assessment systems, emphasising the importance of interdisciplinary work, novel research methodologies, and innovative scholarly outputs that go beyond traditional academic formats such as books or journal articles.

The report also underscores the significance of linking studies with FAIR research data, acknowledging continuations and open-ended outputs, recognising multiple scholarly roles in the authorship attribution, providing interdisciplinary competence-building, and improving evaluation processes.

The report’s second section provides practical recommendations for evaluating specific types of digital scholarly outputs, such as digital scholarly editions, extended publications, databases and datasets, visual representations (infographics and maps), code, blogs, and podcasts. Each case study includes examples and suggested reading materials.

Maciej Maryl, chair of the ALLEA Working Group E-Humanities says:

Although the digital age offers a plethora of formats that seem better equipped to communicate diverse scholarly findings, our research assessment systems still heavily favour traditional outputs like journal articles and books. In our report, we provide examples of good practices for emerging and innovative digital outputs, as well as a framework for researchers and institutions of how to evaluate them.

Ultimately, this should contribute to increasing the diversity of scholarly outputs and ensuring that researchers receive the appropriate recognition and reward for developing and using them.

Read the full report here