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Is it possible, then, that the answer (or at least an answer) to having digital scholarship accepted as equally legitimate and valid as a peer-reviewed article is the development of sustainable structures for our research? As Jerry pointed out, the framework we have for encouraging, publishing, and sustaining print-based humanities scholarship has become so embedded in the academic and institutional systems that support it as to be nearly invisible. This framework, developed over centuries with substantial institutional support, was not called into question until it began to break. One might have presumed that our non-digital colleagues might have looked to digital publication as a way out of the current difficulties; as a way of building new institutional structures to support in the first instance traditional research activities while exploring new models made possible by digital formats. But rather, the opposite has happened. There has arisen instead a bunker mentality clinging to the high old ways as assiduously as the British clung to the Raj.

Is the charge of the transience of digital scholarship warranted? Or is it our expectations that need to be adjusted? One example will suffice: the New Opportunities Fund, which operated in the UK from 1999-2004. NOF was a massive digitization program funded from the UK National Lottery Fund, awarding £50 million to 155 projects. Its goal was to digitize and make available resources for lifelong learning. Five years after the end of the program, Alastair Dunning carried out a survey to ascertain the fate of these projects. 1  The results of his survey are instructive:

  • 30 websites exist and seem to have been enhanced since they launched;

10 have been absorbed into larger projects;

  • 83 websites exist and seem to have remained unchanged since the project launch;  
  • 31 have no available URLs or the URL does not seem to contain the digitized material.

According to a blog post by Dunning, opinions on the success of the program have been divided: “some have seen it as pioneering; others saw it as a poor use of money, which did not really reap the expected dividends.” 2   Although nearly 20 percent of the websites are no longer available, nearly 80 percent are, and when examining projects with more than £300k of funding, 87 percent are still available (34 of the 39 projects). 

If we compare this result to more traditional forms of print-based scholarship, these digitization projects are not doing too badly. We would not fault a traditional publisher if 83 out of 155 of their academic titles did not go into a second print run. However, if 40 of them did go into a second printing (the equivalent of the first two bullet points) with only 20 percent no longer in print five years later, the commissioning editor would be seen to have an outstanding track record. 

Rather than justify why less than 100 percent of the projects are still maintained as active research, perhaps we should be asking, as Jerry states in his opening talk, how do we ensure that digital scholarship remains part of the scholarly life-cycle? How do we ensure that the interfaces, web applications, or digital objects are maintained for future use by the scholarly community? We should be devoting more resources to the development of sustainable digital scholarship rather than accepting the fragility of the structures we create due to short-term or soft funding; resources that once created are situated outside the traditional funding and institutional structures in the humanities. Moreover we need to find long-term funding strategies for supporting the personnel and resources needed for these projects despite the fact that they are more typical of a science lab than a humanities project:  programmers, servers, web developers, metadata specialists, to name but the most obvious. 

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Online humanities scholarship: the shape of things to come. OpenStax CNX. May 08, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11199/1.1
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