Working Group 3: Policy.

To define a Legal, Social and Economic Framework.


The Working Group 3 aims at answering the following strategic general question: What legal, economic and social conditions allow scholarly communities in the humanities to work on the Web? How do they consult the sources they need, publish their results and teach on the Web? Introducing an Open Source approach in the Humanities demands legal and contractual framework, a deeper knowledge of the market of scholarly publishing and on the social context in which the birth and development of scholarly communities on the web take place. It's therefore possible to identify the following three specific questions:

The legal framework: how to access primary sources
Accessing to manuscripts, letters, first editions of works, painting, artefacts, which are stored in public libraries and archives is extremely important for Humanities scholars. Despite the great impact of the Berlin Declaration (2003) in terms of increasing the access to scientific contents in STM, the Berlin Declaration principles are not yet applied to primary sources in the humanities. For scholars as well as for the public it is still very hard to access sources to a good reproduction of the primary sources stored even in case in which the works are in public domain and the originals are hold in public libraries and archives. A legal European common framework for regulating the access to primary sources is missing.

The economic framework: which markets in the humanities?
In January 2006, the European Commission published the Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe. The study resulted from a detailed analysis of the current scholarly journal publication market, together with extensive consultation with all the major stakeholders within the scholarly communication process (researchers, funding agencies, publishers, librarians, research policymakers, etc.). The study noted that “dissemination and access to research results is a pillar in the development of the European Research Area”. The study, however, doesn't analyze the humanities. But to assess the socio-economic context in which the models and technologies of the infrastructure operate is essential to get more data on the market of scientific publishing in the humanities.

The social framework: behavior analysis and new policy devices of the scholarly communities on the web
How is the behavior of scholars on the Web changing? It is acknowledged that humanities scholars are less open to innovation both from the technical and organizational point of view. Why and how? There is few data available on this. Data on scholars’ habits, such as: how much do they publish on the Web? How do they cooperate? Why don’t they use the tools that are already available? The web 2.0 has resulted in a number of tools and technologies for annotation and personalization of resources but these tools have yet to gain a strong foothold in an humanistic academic setting. Moreover, a meditation on the policies of government of scholarly communities on the web could include the question of evolution of peer review.


Responsibles of this working group are Francesca Di Donato (didonato (at) and Maria Chiara Pievatolo (pievatolo (at)




Management Committee

WG 1: Communities

WG 2: Software

WG 3: Policy


Call for Proposals

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