Traditional academic journals in the humanities rarely publish articles written by more than one author, while journals about digital humanities often run co-authored pieces, suggesting that new technologies are leading to more collaboration in humanities disciplines.
That’s the theory posed by Lisa Spiro, director of the Digital Media Center at Rice University, and she recently set out to test it. She sat down and counted the number of single-authored and co-authored articles in four years’ worth of two representative journals — American Literary History and Literary and Linguistic Computing. The count proved her point: Only five out of 259 articles in American Literary History had more than one author, while 70 out of 145 articles in the computing journal featured two or more collaborators.
“Building digital collections, creating software, devising new analytical methods, and authoring multimodal scholarship typically cannot be accomplished by a solo scholar,” Ms. Spiro writes on her blog. “Rather, digital humanities projects require contributions from people with content knowledge, technical skills, design skills, project management experience, metadata expertise, etc.”
Ms. Spiro says she is working on an article about collaborative research methods, and — naturally — she’s looking for some other scholars to co-write the piece with her. —Jeffrey R. Young