“There are several layers that need to be unpacked. The scholarly communication landscape in the SSH is very diverse, which is not in itself a bad thing, but more communication and coordination between different institutions and stakeholders is needed. Moreover, the open science policies vary across Europe and there’s no consensus among researchers on how important and prestigious open access is. Similarly, digital innovations are adopted to a varying extent by different disciplines and individual scholars, with some curious and eager to experiment with different forms and others sticking to safer, more traditional solutions (interestingly, it often has nothing to do with the career stage!).
The evaluation criteria have not caught up with the digital transformation and so many authors end up publishing via more traditional outputs even though they would rather experiment with the former as they know that they need to have the established publications – for example articles in prestigious journals – on their academic resume.
There is another issue linked to evaluation: often publications in English are recognised as more valuable by funders or institutions which is not the best situation, especially in the case of domestic authors addressing important local issues in their native language.
There are several layers to a successful research infrastructure in the SSH. Firstly -and this really is key -it needs to be inclusive, so open to different stakeholders representing diverse perspectives.
Secondly, the infrastructure has to be dedicated to the specific traits of SSH: for example, research outputs often tend to be more traditional than in the case of hard sciences (‘the monograph is the king,’ claimed one of our interviewees in the OPERAS-P project) and there is often less funding for opening up research. Multilingualism is also an important aspect of the SSH as it is crucial that a topic that is important to smaller, local communities can be presented to them in a way that they can understand.
Thirdly, it needs to be researcher-driven, thus reflecting the actual needs of the scholars and be developed with the collaborators from various academic circles….”