Sustainability Workshop 2017

Sustainability of Digital Research Infrastructures for the Arts and Humanities

Workshop at the DARIAH Annual Event in Berlin, April 27th 2017, 10:30-12:00 a.m.


Research infrastructures are becoming more and more important in data driven research in the humanities, arts and social sciences. CLARIN and DARIAH are two initiatives in this field, organized as European Research Infrastructure Consortiums (ERIC), a legal entity established under European law for long term research infrastructures. As such, the European infrastructures have been created without the limits of project research, though on the national levels this is often still the case. Within Germany, a member of both ERICs, the national initiatives join for discussing options and models for a more permanent national infrastructure. CLARIN-D ( and DARIAH-DE ( have been working on providing digital research infrastructures for the arts & humanities, cultural and social studies a national level for the past six years, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Both support diverse research projects and develop the tools and services according to the needs of the varying communities in these fields with different foci. This results in different infrastructure components, but, where possible, a close collaboration in technical and organisational matters.

One critical demand co-occurring with the digital paradigm shift of research, is the longevity of digital infrastructures available, which have a long standing tradition taking both diachronic and synchronic perspectives on data. The DH-communities rely on the continued availability of services, tools and data provided by research infrastructures. On the European level, the ERICs provide an institutionalized basis for a sustainable infrastructure, but this does not necessarily provide appropriate national counterparts at scale. For the fields of arts, humanities, culture and social sciences such national structures are especially relevant, as these fields are at least partly defined from a national tradition and background. The lack of appropriate sustainable national structures hence is inevitably noticeable. Therefore, communities and research funders have to create new organisational and operational modes. Stakeholders in Germany identified the establishment and maintenance of digital research infrastructures as a national task, which cannot be handled by individual universities and institutions for various reasons (See: the German Memorandum for sustainably providing digital research infrastructures for humanities and cultural studies in Germany (Memorandum: digital research infrastructures). To address this, the German consortia of the European initiatives, CLARIN-D and DARIAH-DE respectively, established a regular dialogue, starting to involve representatives from the federal and state governments, research, and infrastructure providers in order to address the sustainability of digital research infrastructures for the arts and humanities.

At this workshop organized by CLARIN-D and DARIAH-DE both initiatives will share their experience in seeking sustainability on a national level, discuss challenges in maintaining digital research infrastructures as well as look at the experiences from Europe.
The workshop will address several main topics/questions:

  • Which models of organisational resp. legal entities promote sustainability of digital research infrastructures?
  • Which ways of funding are feasible for research infrastructures and how can international cooperation contribute to sustainability?
  • How can the demands of research in the humanities be considered in developing and maintaining research infrastructures? Which part do research communities play?
  • Which aspects of sustainability are covered in this context? How can different aspects of sustainability be addressed?


  • Association for Digital Humanities in the German speaking area (DHd): Evelyn Gius
  • BoD (DARIAH-EU): Jennifer Edmond
  • CLARIN-D: Erhard Hinrichs, Andreas Witt
  • DARIAH-DE: [Wolfram Horstmann] Stefan Schmunk, Mirjam Blümm
  • Chair: Jan Brase


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