Research in the social sciences and humanities increasingly relies on computational tools and infrastructures — from collecting and analysing data to collaborating with other researchers. Progress in scientific research is increasingly dependent on the quality and accessibility of research infrastructures. Therefore, it is critical to address many new challenges related to their development, deployment, and maintenance.
Sustainability is a central challenge. Research infrastructures for the social sciences and humanities may be designed and developed for a specific research project or a particular method. Rather than being a viable research endeavor in their own right, research infrastructures often play a support role, enabling or supporting a primary research purpose. As such, their development, deployment, and maintenance may be characterized by prototypes, hacks or apprenticeship work (e.g., carried out by students). They are not always given the care and attention fitting for a central, enabling piece of the research activities. This contradiction severely challenges their sustainability.
On the other side, even for rigorously planned and executed infrastructure projects, it is difficult to establish and foster sustained use. Bootstrapping, creating critical mass, user training and support, and maintenance are all difficult tasks in achieving sustainable infrastructures. Another sustainability strategy may be to grow research infrastructures by establishing new uses and transfering them to new contexts. Such a transfer may entail substantial additional effort as it may require adapting and generalizing the research infrastructure to new user groups, new research projects, new institutional contexts or even new fields of research where the tools might hold similar potential.
This workshop seeks to collect experiences and best practices from successful tools and platforms, and to foster a community around sustainable research infrastructure development. By sharing experiences around making infrastructures sustainable, we strive to create vivid communities of academic users.
Campus Unteres Schloss, Ludwig-Wittgenstein-Haus
Raum US-F 104