Digital Humanities as Innovation: ‘constant revolution’ or ‘moving to the suburbs’?
Digital Humanities (DH) has been depicted as an engine for innovation in and renewal of the humanities, as a challenge for Data Science, and as an arena where libraries, archives and providers of e-research infrastructures join forces with research pioneers. While Digital Humanities still struggles in its self-perception and definition, there is an overall consensus that something new is definitely going on. In this paper look at DH as a newly emerging field from an innovation studies perspective. Following Everett Rogers theory of Diffusion of Innovations we examine the adoption curve and growth phases of this field together with the networks of communication that have been formed. We use this model also to discuss past and on-going efforts to map DH as a community of practice visible in scholarly communication (Leydesdorff, Akdag Salah), by ethnographic means (Svensson), by way of an infographic (Terras), and in terms of education (Scagliola et al). Eventually, we discuss various scenarios for its further growth, and how the achievement of such scenarios requires different research policy measures.
Andrea Scharnhorst and Sally Wyatt are, respectively, Scientific Coordinator and Programme Leader of the eHumanities Group. Together with Paul Wouters and Anne Beaulieu, they co-edited Virtual Knowledge. Experimenting in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, published by The MIT Press in 2013.