The Union of Academies and its academies are important "pacemakers" in the Digital Humanities (DH). In 2020, for example, the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) found that the academies work particularly closely together in the "field of digital humanities under the umbrella of the Union" and that the projects of the Academies programme now contain "almost exclusively digital components". For this reason, the "eHumanities" working group was set up to establish a regular exchange on technical processes and, if necessary, joint solutions and thus academy-wide "best practices". The "eHumanities" working group thus offers the member academies of the Union of Academies a forum for the exchange of information, for the cooperative development of joint solutions and for advice on questions of copyright, digital publication and open access.
In addition, the "eHumanities" working group is the inter-academic forum for coordinating the successful initiatives and tasks of the academies within the framework of the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI).
Working Group eHumanities
In the working group eHumanities, established under the umbrella of the Union of Academies, experts in informatics, language, literature, law and computational linguistics, as well as scholars from the research projects of the Academies Programme, have engaged in questions of copyright and electronic storage; standards, tools and software; and open access and long-term availability of electronic data. The Union of Academies organises an annual collective workshop on a specialist topic concerning electronic publication.
Academies in the NFDI
The academies of sciences and humanities consider the establishment of sustainable infrastructures for the provision and maintenance of research data to be urgently required. This also applies in particular to the humanities, in order to ensure the long-term preservation of the available research data and results. The academies see it as their task to participate both in the discussion about the design and in the development of a corresponding proposal. They have therefore been involved in the initiative to set up a National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) right from the start.
Digitisation Centre of the Academies and Cooperations
In previous years, institutions have arisen out of the member academies of the Union of Academies that have built up and developed IT solutions in the field of Digital Humanities:
- Digital Academy of the Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz
- TELOTA of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
The Academies also cooperate with several leading digitisation centres in Germany:
- The Leibniz Supercomputing Centre of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities
- Cologne Center for eHumanities (CCeH)
- Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities (GCDH)
- The Trier Centre for Digital Humanities
Survey and analysis of foundational research in the humanities and social sciences at the European academies of sciences.
Between August 2013 and October 2015, the Union of Academies and the European coalition of academies, All European Academies (ALLEA), lead a project which produced a survey and analysis of foundational research in the humanities and social sciences at the European academies of sciences. A particular focus during the inquiry and evaluation was the digitisation of research projects.
Construction of a European Academy-Portal
Between November 2015 and June 2017, this project pursed the goal of producing a concept for a pan-European digital infrastructure that improves the visibility and locatability of research in the humanities and social sciences and promotes international cooperations. A basic requirement for a future European Academy-Portal for the humanities and social sciences (European Academies Internet Gateway – AGATE) was ascertained and possibilities of integrating existing concepts and solutions for further use and adaptation were examined.