F20 Black Atlantic: Resources, Pedagogy, and Scholarship on the 18th Century Black Atlantic

Funding for the Creation of Open Access Resources

               The field of Digital Humanities is extremely new to me and it seems that this vast world is impossible to become completely familiar with in such a short time. That being said, I wanted to try my best to insert myself into this conversation and add my own opinions to those that already exist in the hopes of furthering my own understanding and jumpstarting the conversation for others. This particular response should be seen as a one-off subject which might not necessarily connect with succeeding responses. 
               My introduction to Digital Humanities came in the form of reading Matthew Kirschenbaum’s piece “What Is Digital Humanities and What’s It Doing in English Departments?” While we were assigned another chapter of this piece, my DH knowledge is still in its infancy and I felt I needed an introduction to my introduction. I read this piece along with Amy E. Earhart’s “Can Information Be Unfettered? Race and the New Digital Humanities Canon” which is apart of the same project. It is my understanding that the original plan for the internet was the exact opposite of what it has become. Earhart writes that it was “portrayed as an idealized, democratic, and free space” and that those who already used the internet on a regular basis were “battling against the corporate market intent on invading their open space.” Essentially, the internet was an untapped realm of free possibilities and the potential to give voice to the voiceless and shrink the knowledge gap. However, when we look at the internet now, we see paywalls, subscription services, countless ads, our safe spaces are policed, social media has just as much ability to give you a complex as it has to give you access to information. On top of this, I am not alone in being oblivious to the strides being made in Digital Humanities and the hard work put into creating open access resources.
               As I combed over the readings my first question was “Who is paying for all of this?” Where does the funding come from for someone to create something that will be a free resource? While information could be unfettered, can it really be unfunded? And if it is unfunded what is the size of the audience it could actually reach? I immediately began looking for grants that are directed at funding the creation of open access resources or which require some aspect of the research to be released without cost. Perhaps my knowledge of humanities grants is limited, but I mostly came across university funds that are placed aside for students and faculty to publish in open access journals that stay afloat from processing fees. Therefore, my proposal for further research is the process of obtaining research funds to create OAR’s. I want to know if there is an adequate pool of funds for this work and if not, what can be done to push this forward. I want to look into research grants for the creation of OAR’s or grants that require some form of the research done to be released without a paywall. If grants such as this do not exist I want to examine the potential of either an institution-funded for foundation-funded grant for the creation of these resources across disciplines. All of the projects funded by this grant will be apart of a larger website which will be accessible to those who require this information for further research.

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