|
Evaluating Digital Scholarship
NINES/NEH Summer Institutes: 2011-2012

Statement on Authorship

Authored by A. Ardis, L. Brake, C. Della Coletta, J. Ehnenn, R. Gagnier, D. Radcliffe, N. Workman and the NINES/NEH Summer Institute Group 2011.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 For decades now, scholars in the humanities have been rethinking the notion of the solitary author as the sole creator of finished products. In addition to the notion of single authorship, there are diverse ways of conceptualizing the author, beginning with the acknowledgment that authorship is defined through discourse and social constructs. Indeed, some conceptualizations of authorship are not single but collective, such as the authorship of periodicals, the collaborative authorship of co-written texts, the apprenticeship relationship between mentors and those they supervise, and the plural communal work that goes into scholarship in the digital humanities.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 Scholarly projects in the digital humanities invite us to consider the notion of authorship in some or all of the following interesting and valuable ways:

Permalink for this paragraph 0 a) Author as multimedia practitioner: in addition to being a writer, the digital author may be a conceptualizer, researcher, designer, builder, encoder, etc.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 b) Author as digital polyglot: authors may be fluent in multiple coding languages

Permalink for this paragraph 0 c) Authorship as process

Permalink for this paragraph 0 d) Authorship as collaborative

Permalink for this paragraph 0 e) Authorship as interactive, in both production and consumption

Evaluation

Permalink for this paragraph 0 Given the above, we recommend that the following practices and standards of evaluation be applied to the scholar who presents work in the digital humanities as part of a dossier for professional advancement, whether at the dissertation or hiring stage, tenure, and/or promotion.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 a) When the author is a multimedia practitioner, evaluation of each aspect of the multimedia project should follow best practices in that individual discipline and be equally valued.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 b) Implementation of each digital language used in the project should follow best practices for that digital language and be well suited to its purpose.

Permalink for this paragraph 1 c) The scholarly digital project should include apparent and justified self-reflection and self-critique of all stages of the process of discovery and development.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 d) Because digital authorship is likely to be dependent upon a number of intellectual agents and because the digitally authored project is an organic system, assessment of collaborative work in the digital humanities should be evaluated qualitatively as a whole rather than quantitatively and fractionally.

Permalink for this paragraph 1 e) The scholarly digital project should provide evidence, whether implicitly or explicitly, that the author is effectively networked in a community of fellow practitioners.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 Finally, we recommend that projects authored by scholars in the digital humanities, as in more traditionally authored scholarly projects, be evaluated for the following characteristics: elegance; communicability; working within recognizable conventions and best practices; intervening in the production of knowledge in a given scholarly field and moving that field forward; and sustainability, or, usefulness to and usability by future generations.

page 4