My time as a Panton Fellow has been both busy and extremely rewarding. In the last year I’ve been involved in a number of projects, met some fantastic people and attended a number of events centered on data sharing within academia. Whilst data sharing in the humanities and social sciences is still in a very nascent stage, especially the average researcher’s awareness of open data, there is definitely a sense that it is firmly on the agenda as part of the broader move towards openness in scholarly research. The crucial thing now is to continue to reach out to the average researcher, highlighting the benefits that open data offers and ensuring that there is a stock of accessible resources offering practical advice to researchers on how to share their data.
Issues in Open Research Data
With this in mind, in this final post I had originally wanted to be able to share the open-access book I’ve commissioned entitled Issues in Open Research Data, but alas it is still in production and will be published in November. Nevertheless, I am delighted to say that the book was successfully funded via the crowd-funding website Unglue.It and will be available in PDF, EPUB and low-cost print editions when it is published. The book features chapters by open data experts in a range of academic disciplines, covering practical information on licensing, ethics, and advice for data curators, alongside more theoretical issues surrounding the adoption of open data.
As the book will be open access, each chapter will be able to standalone from the main volume so that communities can host, distribute, build upon and remix the content. The book is primarily a work of advocacy and aims to start a conversation with the academic community at large – I’ll be sending out copies to research libraries, repositories and others that might be interested. Do get in touch if you think your institution would like a printed copy and I’ll see what I can do.
Journal of Open Humanities Data
Another initiative I wanted to mention is the forthcoming Journal of Open Humanities Data, which will be launching very soon through Ubiquity Press. The journal will feature peer-reviewed publications describing humanities data or techniques with high potential for reuse, everything from cultural items to large text corpora. In doing this, the journal aims to incentivise data sharing through publication credit, which in turn makes data citable through usual academic paper citation practices. Ultimately the journal will help researchers share their data, recommending repositories and best practices in the field, and will also help them track the impact of their data through citations and altmetrics. The call for papers will be posted in the next few weeks but, again, please do get in touch if you’d like to hear more.
Last of all, many thanks to the Open Knowledge Foundation for all their advice and support: specifically, Peter Murray-Rust, Michelle Brook, Jenny Molloy and Jonathan Grey, and many others too. I have already signed up to be involved in a few Open Knowledge projects in the coming year and I look forward to helping further the cause of openness across academia (and maybe working on my PhD..!)
Here is a roundup of some of the activities I’ve been involved in over the past year: