Authors’ Response

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Dear Editors,

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Thank you for allowing us time to revise our manuscript based on the feedback of our three readers and our many open commenters. While this experiment in open review proved to be far more editorial work for you—and uncompensated work at that!—we are extremely pleased that the AHR was willing to give it a shot and we hope, based on the revisions we made, that we can follow this process through to publication.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 We are pleased to note that all readers and commenters clearly identified and correctly articulated our arguments and interventions. There were no substantial misinterpretations of our claims and, overall, reviewers recognized the utility of a critical exploration of the short history of digital history through the lens of “democratization.” That said, the three anonymous readers reports as well as the eighty-eight comments from seventeen scholars presented many opportunities for improvement. We are deeply grateful for all who participated in this review and for the AHR, particularly Alex Lichtenstein and Lara Putnam, for making this possible.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 As you suggested, we focused especially on areas where readers converged by explicitly defining terms (democracy, digital history and humanities, OA and OER), clearly explaining the relationship between digital history and digital humanities, clarifying the scope of “democracy” in our article, and engaging more with the production side of open access materials. We have also benefited from the many suggested readings, such as Sharon Leon’s “Complicating a ‘Great Man’ Narrative,” and have more fully fleshed out the ins and outs of the past several years of digital history, capturing—explicitly—the tensions we introduce here.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 The following is a more detailed description of the changes we made in response to comments from the three anonymous readers and the seventeen additional scholars who offered feedback. 

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Reader 1 suggested we better grapple with gender and ensure that women and people of color are not just “included” in our essay but central to our argument. We added considerations of several digital humanists and expanded upon existing material to better feature relevant scholarship (such as Sharon Leon’s) and to show explicitly how scholars, inspired especially by intersectional feminism, are responsible for exposing the tensions and pushing the new forms of “democracy” we have made central to our argument.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Reader 3, Cameron Blevins, Jordan Taylor, and Trevor Owens all asked for clarity on the relationship between the digital humanities and digital history. We have added an explicit definitional paragraph to the introduction that treats digital history and the digital humanities as well as open access and open educational resources, a request made by Reader 3, Martin Paul Eve, Nora Slonimsky, Trever Owens, Lisa Spiro, Dan Gorman, and Jordan Taylor. 

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Reader 3, Cameron Blevins, and Jordan Taylor call for more engagement with digital public history. We considerably expanded the discussion of the work of museums, archives, and digital public historians, noting Sharon Leon’s demonstration of the prominence of public history work in winning NEH digital history grants and evaluating the successes and limitations of digital public history in pursuing democratization against a backdrop of a host of entrenched inequalities. 

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 Reader 2, Nora Slonimsky, Lisa Spiro, Jordan Taylor, Trevor Owens, and Alex Lichtenstein’s own editorial comment all pointed to a greater need to grapple with the labor and economics of the digital humanities and open access. While Reader 2 was especially engaged in the economics of open access publishing, particularly with the model used in the sciences, and although ours is not to propose a solution to the economic problems posed by open access, we did attempt to more clearly chart the nature of those problems. We are less optimistic that open access can achieve all Reader 2 believes it can, and we believe the sacrifices Reader 2 suggest are not so easily waved away, and we therefore see the movement, even in its best manifestations, as less than “a revolution in historical scholarship.” We have sought to chart both the achievements and limitations of open access.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 Reader 2, Reader 3, Lisa Spiro, Martin Paul Eve, Nora Slonimsky, Trevor Owens, Mark Boonshoft, Lindsay Chervinsky, and Randall Miller all wanted greater clarity on our understanding of democracy. Reader 2 describes democracy as the efficient, transparent, and equitable use of public resources for the public good, and this report demonstrates a careful call for action at reforming publishing toward these ends. We are less willing to offer our own positive definition of democracy and note the limitations of scholars who attempt to do so. But we make that explicit, and we further define and evaluate the specific ways that digital historians have understood and pursued democratization through three tactics: opening access, expanding participation, and attacking inequalities. We chart the achievements and limitations to each of these three approaches. 

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 Reader 2, Mark Boonshoft, Christy Hyman, Cameron Blevins, Dan Gorman, Lisa Spiro, Nora Slonimsky, and Trevor Owens all call for more nuanced yet clear articulations of neoliberalism and its role in shaping digital history. We have expanded our brief history of neoliberalism, drawing on the scholarship of Johann Neem, Wendy Brown, Christopher Newfield, and others. Unlike critiques grounded in digital literary studies, our goal is not to argue that digital history or the digital humanities is a tool for neoliberalism, but rather to show how the structures of neoliberalism hamper the democratizing potential of digital history in universities, museums, archives, and beyond. 

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 Reader 1, Reader 3, Jordan Taylor, Cameron Blevins, Martin Paul Eve, Christy Hyman, and Nora Slonimsky all asked us to reckon with additional sources—both articles and digital projects. We are very grateful for these calls and believe that this draft much more accurately samples from the field, particularly highlighting the role of women and BIPOC in producing discursive scholarship and in creating digital projects that aim to redress inequality. 

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Reader 3, Lisa Spiro, Jordan Taylor, Trevor Owens, and Cameron Blevins all pointed to moments of imprecise or exaggerated language. We are grateful for this attentive reading and have tried to more accurately reflect the complex realities of the issues under discussion. 

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 One again, we deeply thank the readers and the AHR for facilitating the process. We believe it has only strengthened our piece.

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Source: https://ahropenreview.com/HistoryCanBeOpenSource/authors-response/