How do researchers in the Arts and Humanities consult their research material? How widespread is the use of digital devices, including tablets and other mobile devices? Which research activities, related to the use of digital methods and tools, are more common amongst humanists? How do researchers disseminate their work, what use of social networks or scholarly community sites they make? Which services are more widespread in the course of the research lifecycle and what needs the researchers themselves identify as important for conducting their research?
These are but few of the questions attempted to be answered by the analysis of the DARIAH – VCC2- DiMPO European Scholarly Practices Survey. In order to provide an evidence-based, up-to-date, and meaningful account of the emerging information practices, needs and attitudes of arts and humanities researchers in the evolving European digital scholarly environment, the web survey involved a transnational team of researchers from more than a dozen countries, and addressed digitally-enabled research practices, attitudes and needs in all areas of Europe and across different arts and humanities disciplines and contexts. The survey was conducted in 2015 in ten languages and gathered 2,177 responses from humanities researchers from more than 20 European countries. The summary of the main results is included in a highlights report which is available in English, French, German, Polish and Spanish.
The web survey offers strong evidence of extensive use of both digital resources and digital services or tools among European researchers in the arts and humanities and documents their use across the whole scholarly work life-cycle, from data collection to publication and dissemination. The findings also provide valuable insights regarding the devices used to consult different kinds of scholarly resources, the research processes and activities conducted by humanists, the channels of publishing and dissemination of scholarly work, the use of databases as well as their contents, the frequency of use of specific digital services and applications as well as the importance of a series of needs related to the findability and availability of digital resources, digitization, support and information related to the use of digital methods and tools, networking etc.
The results add to our understanding of how researchers and more specifically those among them using digital resources, methods, services and tools conduct their research, and what they perceive as important for their work. This is significant not only for better understanding the scholarly work and the digital aspect related to it, but also for defining the priorities which need to be set for digital infrastructures, as well as activities and strategies for digital inception which will shape future initiatives regarding the diverse communities of researchers in the humanities.
The Highlights Report is going to be shortly followed by the publication of the Final Report showcasing the consolidated European results and six detailed national profiles, namely for Austria, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia and Switzerland. This work is going to be pursued by a second phase of the web survey which will allow us to draw richer and mainly comparative results on the use of digital methods and tools by European humanists.
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