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Transforming data practices in the humanities: virtual research environments revisited 
Fabian Pittroff (Ruhr University Bochum)
Mace Ojala (Ruhr University Bochum)
Leman Çelik (Ruhr University Bochum)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

As virtual research becomes the new normal, it is time to revisit virtual research environments as explicit or implicit sociotechnical frameworks and imaginaries that structure the transformation of data within the humanities, where postdigital practices intersect with fictional research objects.

Long Abstract:

In research, virtuality is more than the use of digital tools; it is a site for modeling, testing, and speculation. Especially in the humanities, the term virtual research marks a vivid intersection of postdigital practices and fictional worlds. On the one hand, humanities research is entangled in the virtual, as every discipline uses some digital tools for their data handling or coordination, and meeting in hybrid settings is the new normal. On the other hand, many objects and methods in the humanities refer to virtual worlds of fiction and speculation.

That is why we propose a renewed and broadened attention to virtual research environments (VRE) as explicit or implicit sociotechnical frameworks and imaginaries through which the humanities organize the transformation of their research data. Although the use of and research on VREs as infrastructures helping scholars collaborate isn't new (e.g., Star & Ruhleder 1996; Edwards 2003; Bowker 2008), there are many new ways in which virtuality has been woven into everyday research practices lately. This altered virtuality layer is not yet sufficiently reflected upon, not only as one more problem to solve but also as a starting point to ask how collaboration is being done in the humanities these days.

Therefore, we invite scholars from all disciplines to share insights on VREs in particular and on virtual research in the humanities more generally. This includes the application of computational tools, data storage, and scholarly communication, as well as the handling of fictional objects within these infrastructures. We request contributions to:

* Research on changing data practices and their infrastructures in the humanities

* Reports on activist or artistic interventions into the humanities and their data practices

* Research on how data practices in the humanities transform data and impact VREs

* Reflections on how data practices and VREs shape epistemologies

Accepted papers:

Session 1