British academy


E-Publishing in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Friday, 7 April 2006
The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1

Convenor and Chair: Adam Kuper FBA, Brunel University

According to a study recently commissioned by the British Library, 'by the year 2020 40% of UK research monographs will be available in electronic format only, while a further 50% will be produced in both print and digital form. A mere 10% of new titles will be available in print alone by 2020.' E-publishing is still more advanced in the journal field. These trends are particularly evident in the sciences, but the humanities and social sciences are following their example. Within a very short time new forms of publication will have become routine. This is not simply a matter of introducing new means of disseminating academic papers. The very nature of publications will change. For instance, e-journals can post large data banks, including documents or statistics, to support papers, and they can set up web-sites for discussions. There will also be consequences for such established academic practices as peer review, research assessment exercises etc., and for the budgets and priorities of research libraries and, indeed, of universities. At the same time, archives are being made available in digital form, electronic data bases proliferate, generally open to all researchers, and the contents of museums are increasingly presented online. These developments have radical consequences for academic research. The British Academy workshop provides a forum for the discussion of these issues, from the point of view of scholars in the social sciences and humanities.