One way to enhance transnational research collaboration is to develop and launch joint funding opportunities. The Platform is currently examining the feasibility of joint programming on the theme of Digital Scholarship – a research area in which T-AP members have already developed successful collaborations (see, for example, the Digging Into Data Challenge).
Such work requires the articulation of a feasibility study. This will be conducted in two parts, as described below. The first investigates options for collaborative activities in Digital Scholarship, while the second assesses the impact of Digital Scholarship on the social sciences and humanities and broader social and cultural life. In addition to paving the way for the development of new collaborative activities in Digital Scholarship, the pilot project will provide recommendations and best practices for conducting T-AP’s broader Thematic Scoping work.
Scoping Opportunities for Collaborative Activities in Digital Scholarship
This scoping exercise will examine the existing and planned national data infrastructures of T-AP members, in particular data infrastructures for research in the social sciences and humanities and at the boundaries between the social sciences and humanities and other scientific disciplines. The findings from the survey of national data infrastructures will inform the next step of the scoping exercise, which consists in exploring options for joint funding initiatives and other projects in the area of Digital Scholarship.
Assessment of the Impact of Digital Scholarship
This assessment will help T-AP members identify promising research areas and develop ethical principles to govern joint funding initiatives in Digital Scholarship. It consists in an analysis of:
- Digital Scholarship in the Social Sciences and Humanities, with a focus on exploring: a) how digital technologies affect and enable the production of knowledge in these disciplines; b) how new data sources transform and make possible new research questions and expand the opportunities for interdisciplinary work; and c) ethical issues raised by data sharing methods.
- Digital Technologies in social and cultural life, with a focus on exploring: a) the kinds of social transformations being brought about by the widespread diffusion of digital technologies; b) how digital technologies affect how people work, live and play; and c) how to address the challenges these technologies pose to what we consider to be “public” and “private”.
This analysis will build upon the recent OECD Global Science Forum report, New Data for Understanding the Human Condition, which highlights that data-driven and evidence-based research is fundamental to understanding and addressing global challenges. It will also respond to the report’s main recommendations to research funders, namely that funders should collaborate a) to help researchers assess and better understand the research potential of new forms of data, and b) to develop a framework code of conduct covering the use of new forms of personal data.