Increasing Our Digital Scholarship

Spartan HelmetIn collaboration with the MSU Libraries and the College of Social Science, we are moving toward the grand opening of the Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL) in January 2018. The DSL will be a leading-edge laboratory for digital scholarship across disciplines. Building on our long-standing strengths in digital humanities, the DSL was collaboratively designed to be a catalyst of collaboration that will further elevate the reputation of the University as an international leader in digital scholarship by providing facilities, staffing, and equipment not previously available on a broad scale at MSU. For example, the DSL will have the only Igloo Vision 360° visualization system at a university in the country.

Digital Humanities at MSU (DH@MSU) is an area of strength jointly advanced by the College of Arts & Letters and the College of Social Science. With one of the oldest digital humanities centers in the country, Matrix: Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences, we are drawing on our long-established excellence in digital community building and cultural preservation as we develop emerging strengths in digital scholarly communication. Working through the Domain of One’s Own initiative and in collaboration with the Academic Advancement Network, Communications and Brand Strategy, as well as the Colleges of Education, College of Natural Science, and the Graduate School, our digital presence and public scholarship initiative supports faculty as they establish professional websites and seek to engage a broad public through their scholarship.

Several projects seeking to transform the ways that scholars produce and disseminate their work have recently been funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, including the Public Philosophy Journal ($1M in total funding), which is experimenting with forms of community-oriented peer review; HuMetricsHSS ($309K), a pilot grant to develop more meaningful approaches to measuring and understanding scholarly impact; Humanities Commons ($309K), which enables a growing network of scholars and practitioners to collaborate with colleagues and share their work with the world. Funding for these three projects demonstrate that MSU is the recognized leader of research into new forms of digital scholarly communication in the humanities and social sciences. When this funding is put into a broader context that includes two other signi cant Mellon-funded projects, the Big 10 Academic Alliance Less Commonly Taught Languages Partnership grant ($1 2M), and Matrix’s anticipated Enslaved linked open data grant ($1 47M), it becomes clear that we need to invest in our digital scholarship research infrastructure to ensure the successful completion of these projects and to position us to further advance our reputation in these areas.

In order to support these projects, which have already garnered more than $4M from the Mellon Foundation, and to build toward future success, the College of Arts & Letters and the College of Social Science seek to establish a cluster of programmers that would be shared across projects to increase our capacity to seed and sustain digital projects on a broader scale. Together we will explore a partnership with the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies and the Office of the Provost to fund a cluster of programmers here in East Lansing that will give us a competitive advantage as we seek further funding in these areas.