Editors’ Choice: Are Historians Still Ambivalent About Getting Published Online?

As earlier reports on historians’ use of technology demonstrated, most historians are gathering materials, analyzing their findings, and writing their scholarship in digital form. Curiously, however, a national survey in fall 2015 found that much of the profession remains skeptical about the value of disseminating their scholarship electronically (aside from digital versions of their print publications).  As of 2015, 26% of historians had reportedly published their work online (which was up substantially from the 20% among respondents in a similar 2010 survey), but the share with publications was less than half the share (58%) of historians who reported they had considered publishing their work online. (The latter was essentially the same share as in 2010.) Among those who had not published something online, this ambivalence appeared to arise from two principal sources—personal doubts about the value of this form of work, and a larger sense that there is little professional appreciation or credit for this form of work.

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