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Hardcover | $10.75 Short | £9.95 | 272 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 15 figures | October 2012 | ISBN: 9780262018395
Paperback | $30.00 Short | £24.95 | 272 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 15 figures | October 2012 | ISBN: 9780262517911
eBook | $21.00 Short | October 2012 | ISBN: 9780262306669
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Virtual Knowledge

Experimenting in the Humanities and the Social Sciences


Today we are witnessing dramatic changes in the way scientific and scholarly knowledge is created, codified, and communicated. This transformation is connected to the use of digital technologies and the virtualization of knowledge. In this book, scholars from a range of disciplines consider just what, if anything, is new when knowledge is produced in new ways. Does knowledge itself change when the tools of knowledge acquisition, representation, and distribution become digital?

Issues of knowledge creation and dissemination go beyond the development and use of new computational tools. The book, which draws on work from the Virtual Knowledge Studio, brings together research on scientific practice, infrastructure, and technology. Focusing on issues of digital scholarship in the humanities and social sciences, the contributors discuss who can be considered legitimate knowledge creators, the value of “invisible” labor, the role of data visualization in policy making, the visualization of uncertainty, the conceptualization of openness in scholarly communication, data floods in the social sciences, and how expectations about future research shape research practices. The contributors combine an appreciation of the transformative power of the virtual with a commitment to the empirical study of practice and use.

Anne Beaulieu, Sarah de Rijcke, Bas van Heur, Smiljana Antonijević, Stefan Dormans, Sally Wyatt, Matthijs Kouw, Charles van den Heuvel, Andrea Scharnhorst, Rebecca Moody, Victor Bekkers, Clement Levallois, Stephanie Steinmetz, Paul Wouters, Clifford Tatum, Nicholas W. Jankowski, Jan Kok

About the Editors

Paul Wouters is Professor of Scientometrics and Director of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University.

Anne Beaulieu is Project Manager of the Groningen Energy and Sustainability Programme.

Andrea Scharnhorst is Senior Research Fellow in the e-Humanities Group at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Sally Wyatt is Program Leader of the e-Humanities Group at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Virtual Knowledge is a strong collection conceptualizing and analyzing the current state of thought in eResearch, with a particular focus on the social sciences and humanities. These contributions are reports of new studies and new theorizing with excellent scope. It is a thoughtful reflection and one I will cite in my own work.”
Christine Borgman, Presidential Chair and Professor of Information Studies, UCLA
“This admirable collection of interwoven essays on the consequences of introducing new digital tools into the social sciences and humanities (SSH) covers a fascinating range of topics, research sites, and agendas in a newly chartered area. Its theoretically informed and empirically based account will be an inspired source for future debate.”
Helga Nowotny, President, European Research Council