Peer review and evaluation of digital resources for the arts and humanities

Lead applicant:  Professor David Bates (Institute of Historical Research)
Co-applicants:    Professor Janet Nelson (King’s College, London)
                           Mrs Charlotte Roueché (King’s College, London)
                           Dr Jane Winters (Institute of Historical Research)
Project Officer:  Catherine Wright (Institute of Historical Research)

Project summary

The mechanisms for the evaluation and peer review of the traditional print outputs of scholarly research in the arts and humanities are well established, but no equivalent exists for assessing the value of digital resources and of the scholarly work which leads to their creation. This project proposes to establish a framework for evaluating the quality, sustainability and impact over time of digital resources for the arts and humanities, using History, in its broadest sense, as a case study.

If digital resources are genuinely to contribute to the research profile of UK Higher Education Institutions, it is essential that a framework for evaluating digital resources, and ensuring quality control, be established. A consistently-applied system of peer review (of both the intellectual content and the technical architecture) would serve to reassure academics and their host institutions of the worth of time spent in the creation of digital resources, establish those types of resource which are of most use and interest to the academic community, contribute to the development of common standards and guidelines for accessibility and usability, and inform proposals to ensure the sustainability and preservation of high-quality scholarly material.

The project began in October 2005 and was completed at the end of September 2006. The results of the online survey, conducted in December 2005, and the final project report and recommendations are available to download:

  1. Final report and recommendations of the 'Peer review of digital resources for the arts and humanities' project (pdf file, 236KB; opens a new window)
  2. Online survey report December 2006 (pdf file, 182KB; opens a new window)

The Peer Review Project is one of 12 ICT Strategy Projects funded under the AHRC’s ICT in Arts and Humanities Research Programme .