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Reproducibility of Indian DH Projects: A case study

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Abstract

Digital Humanities (DH) in India is continuously evolving to carve a space of its own through its contribution to the global DH theory, pedagogy, and tools. With the increasing number of independent, institutional, and/or collaborative DH projects in the country, it is now necessary to move beyond the primary questions of digitisation, infrastructure, and Anglican influence in Indian DH, to that of sustainability, reproducibility and explainability, of DH projects.

In this paper, we critically examine and theorise the concept of reproducibility of DH projects in India. The paper achieves this by conducting a bipartite case study of selected Indian DH practitioners and their projects. First, a survey is conducted with the practitioners on questions ranging from the meaning of the concept, tools that facilitate reproducibility, and the process of documentation, to problems (like institutional or funding agency policies) that restrict the practitioners from following an open-access, reproducible workflow. Second, projects of selected DH practitioners are examined to understand the reproducibility offered by their projects. Critical analysis of the projects will foreground the constraints in terms of reproducibility faced by Indian DH projects such as linguistic and semantic barriers, along with providing valuable insights on the “open, shareable, reproducible workflows” of the projects (Liu et al., 2017). The results from the case study led to the proposal of a suitable model that can effectively offers reproducibility of Indian DH projects.

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Data availability

Not applicable to this study as no external datasets were utilised.

References

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the time and cooperation of all respondents – Indian Digital Humanities (DH) practitioners, who participated and responded to our survey and helped us in understanding reproducibility of Indian DH projects.

Funding

The authors did not receive any fund, grants or other supports for the submitted work.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

The primary and corresponding author of the paper is Jyothi Justin. She collected the survey data for the paper and wrote the main parts of the paper. The second author, Nirmala Menon contributed to the analysis of the survey data along with the primary author and helped with the editing and proof-reading processes.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jyothi Justin.

Ethics declarations

Ethical approval

The survey undertaken for the study required the participants to provide their emails, however the names of the respondents are retained anonymous, to protect their personal and professional interests. The respondents have consented to participate in the survey and to make use of, quote and/or analyse, their responses for research purposes.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests of financial or personal nature as defined by Springer.

Appendix

Appendix

1.1 Annexure 1: Questionnaire

Q1. What does the phrase ‘reproducibility of DH projects’ mean to you?

Q2. Have you considered the reproducibility aspect of your DH project? If yes, how do you explain the reproducibility of your DH project?

Q3. If yes (for the Q2.), at what stage of the project did you start thinking about the same? – Initial (Setting up the website/project or writing the project proposal), middle stage (during data collection and other works), after completing the project (after attaining the outcomes/publishing the website)

If no (for the Q2.), then why?

Q4. Are you aware of any DH (or other) tool/platform that facilitate reproducibility? If yes, can you mention a few?

Q5. Do you consider reproducibility aspect while collecting and documenting data for the DH project?

Q6. Are there any restrictions in opening the project for a reproducible workflow, i.e., open-access, especially in the Indian context? (from the institute or funding agencies or personal/professional reasons)

Q7. Does your institution or funding agency mandate you to publish the DH project and its associated data in an open-access, reproducible format?

Q8. What, according to you, are some of the ways in which DH projects in India can attain high reproducibility?

Q9. If your project is in any Indian language, have you faced any additional difficulties in ensuring a reproducible workflow for your project?

Q10. Would you like to suggest any resource/tool for improving reproducibility of DH projects?

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Justin, J., Menon, N. Reproducibility of Indian DH Projects: A case study. Int J Digit Humanities 5, 333–351 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42803-023-00071-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42803-023-00071-0

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