Scholarly Research Trends in the Humanities

May 12th, 2006 by Ross Scaife

Jordan Ballor has posted part of his talk on “various views of what scholarly publishing in the digital age looks like,” including these bits

Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig complain of “the balkanization of the web into privately owned digital storehouses,” and the fact that “the most important commercial purveyors of the past areā€¦global multibillion-dollar information conglomerates like ProQuest, Reed Elsevier, and the Thomson Corporation, which charge libraries high prices for the vast digital databases of journals, magazines, newspapers, books, and historical documents that they control.” …

Perhaps the representation of digital publishing as a binary opposition between “multibillion-dollar information conglomerates” and “academics and enthusiasts” does not exhaust the possibilities. Alas, those of us in the humanities who look to the government for succor are likely to be jilted. Greg Crane, a professor of classics at Tufts University, points out the ambiguous position of the humanities when it comes to government sources of funding for academic technology. He writes, “The biggest government funders of academic technology are the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation whose aggregate funding ($20 billion and $5 billion respectively) exceeds that of the National Endowment for the Humanities ($135 million requested for 2003) by a factor of 185.”

(hat tip to Peter Suber)

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