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The mapping science is always a methodological challenge for science studies. The aim is to built a representation of the state of a research field, its actors (institutions, groups, people…) and their connections (networks), the internal structuring (increasing/reducting division of intellectual labour, sub-field,  internationalization, patterns of cooperation and intra- and interdisciplinary building); the evolutions of the field in order to understand its formation, growing or reduction, burgeoning and division, merging of sub-fields; its boundary construction, its connection to other fields and heterogeneous actors (industry, public institutions…); the dissemination of ideas, knowledge and technics. The idea is to look at the structure and dynamics of the digital humanities in universities, research institutions and other institutions (e.g. museums, archives, cultural institutions, publishers, firms like Google)

A first aim is to help to have overall visions. Conceptual and empirical approaches to mapping science concern the survey of large field data and the network description and analyze. Topographies and network description refers to either social networks (e.g. co-citation analysis) between people, groups or institution, or semantic network between keywords (e.g. co-word analysis). The best are networks analyses which connect people (researchers, research institution to which they belong, funding institutions, providers of material…) and content. This would help to provide insight into concepts, theories and methods that are structuring, central or marginal in the field, but also on the trajectory and transformation of the field. Tracing the social (disciplinary, institutional, national…), instrumental and conceptual roots would help to explain the emergence, the structuring and the transformations of the digital humanities as a social world, as a social organization, as a cognitive infrastructure. We would like to built data and representation which help to understand how the field is structuring and changing, which groups and disciplines that tend to develop or disappear.

The primary data to gather in order to map such dynamics could be: articles in academics journals and books (authors, citations, belonging institution, funding institutions, citations, scientific content), patents, technological agreements and cooperations, geographical and scientific mobility of people, etc.

The study could be:

– an empirical investigation of digital humanities (or of a subfield, a period or an event like a colloquium) as a research fields;

– or a methodological search for a better way to gather, analyses and represent socio-scientific networks and their transformation.

Possible sources of conceptual and methodological approaches:

– The journal Scientometrics.

– Researchers like: David Budtz Pedersen and Frederik Stjernfelt, Aarhus University; Claus Emmeche, University of Copenhagen; Katja Mayer, University of Vienna; Gustaf Nelhans, University of Gothenburg; Barry Brown, Stockholm University.


Pr Dominique Vinck, science and technology studies, UNIL, Dominique.Vinck@unil.chPage personnelle UNIL

Alexandre Camus, sociologist, UNIL, alexandre.camus@unil.ch