The Saxon Ministry of Culture has awarded the University of Leipzig a €1.1 million grant, with support from the European Social Fund and from the State of Saxony, to form an early career research group to help develop new methods of publication, predicated upon open data and open access, for the Humanities in general and for students of historical languages such as Greek and Latin in particular. This grant provides a first step towards reestablishing Leipzig as an international center for humanities publication, especially in technologically challenging areas such as ancient languages and music – and doing so in a framework that is born-digital from the start and that assumes the constraints and possibilities of an open, digital environment.
An English version of the press release from the State of Saxony (http://www.medienservice.sachsen.de/medien/news/184003) follows:
Early Career Research Group starts at the University of Leipzig
On May 1, 2013, an early career research group, “the reinvention of humanities publishing in a digital age,” began work at the University of Leipzig.
Under the leadership of Humboldt Professor Gregory Crane, the team of early-career researchers will draw on emerging technologies such as Natural Language Processing, Text Mining, and Digital Libraries to help reinvent publication in the Humanities. “The goal is the creation of a comprehensive, openly accessible collection of data for Greek and Latin. In this era of digital publication and with this new collection as a foundation, Leipzig has a chance to reestablish its traditional role as a center for the publication of historical sources in languages such as Greek and Latin”, says classical philologist Professor Gregory Crane. Under his leadership seven researchers from the Institute of Computer Science are working on the project.
The Ministry for Science and Art has provided support for this project with resources from the European Social Fund (ESF) and the State of Saxony. The Early Career Research Group has received roughly €1.1 million in support. The project runs through 2014.
“The early career researches pursue an ambitious and important research goal. The use of new information technologies can carry humanities research into new dimensions. In addition research in the area of Digital Humanities is an important building block for further increasing the University of Leipzig’s profile in humanities research in general,” explained State Science Minister Sabine von Schorlemer.
As Matthias Schwarz, Prorector for Research and Support of Early Researchers at the University of Leipzig, points out, it is not simply a question of making the University’s rich humanities resources accessible through new, IT-enabled methods of research, but it is also significant from the standpoint of employment policy. “Our main goal is to establish new career paths for humanists with IT-skills. On the one hand, the University of Leipzig is seizing the opportunity to strengthen the underlying structure of the humanities – an area in which Leipzig sees itself as establishing a particular strength among the various institutions of higher learning in Saxony. At the same time, through this ESF-support, early career development in the humanities is particularly well adapted for the modern job market,” Prorector Schwarz said.
A number of early career research groups are being founded in the area of Digital or e-Humanities. As a comprehensive university with a particular strength in the humanities and outstanding competence in Computer Science, the University of Leipzig has long been focusing on the relatively new field where researchers aggressively exploit information technologies to take their research in the humanities to a higher level. Professor Gregory Ralph Crane is a pioneer of the e-Humanities. On 1st April he began his Alexander von Humboldt Professorship at the University of Leipzig.