Digital Humanities Journals

For this assignment I chose to review DHQ, a fully online journal known as the Digital Humanities Quarterly, a journal dedicated to digital humanities scholarship. The DHQ offers peer-reviewed scholarship in the forms of “scholarly articles, editorials, experiments in new media, and reviews.” In her article entitled DIY Humanities, author Ashley Dawson raises several valid criticisms of the attempts of scholarly publication to effectively embrace and utilize digital media. Namely, she claims that most online journals do little more than simply recreating the traditional print model in digital form. DHQ falls in this designation and their format certainly represents a basic digital recreation if the traditional print journal. But, unlike traditional print, the DHQ’s online format allows for users to post comments about articles and pieces and engage in discussions with other users via these comment mediums. This furthers the goal of scholarship as initiating a conversation, exchange, or debate over thoughts and ideas.

In terms of content and access, both of which Dawson also addresses, DHQ represents significant progress. First, the journal upholds an open access policy and allows scholars to maintain full ownership of their and redistribute it in any place or means they desire. Additionally, the site claims that as soon as materials “are ready they are posted in the preview section” addressing many of the issues Dawson raises with the significant time lag associated with publishing in traditional journals.

Secondly, speaking more to content, the journal also claims to accept scholarship that pushes the boundaries of what constitutes the digital humanities. For instance, many of the articles contain graphs and various data visualizations which represent a progressive application of data analysis to traditional humanities work. The journal also “publishes” multimedia works that go well beyond the traditional humanities paper. All “published” submissions, whatever their nature, all undergo a traditional peer review process. However, I searched for information about the specifics of this peer review process and couldn’t seem to find anything.

Despite the lack of information about the peer review process, the DHQ serves as a good example of the possibility for online, open-access scholarship. By staying within the framework of the tradition peer reviewed structure the DHQ provides an outlet for scholars to release their work in an accessible and progressive way, while still obtaining the necessary designation of scholastic achievement through the peer review process. I believe that more journals emulating this format would go a long way to mitigate many of the concerns rightly raised by Dawson in her article.

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