This article is not specifically about Digital Humanities but it accords so nicely with what I took away from the discussion this week that I wanted to share it here.

I was irked by the distinction between science and the humanities in Borgman but I can reluctantly admit that science’s Big Data is bigger and perhaps not coincidentally, science also has bigger funding. This excerpt from Edward Carr’s response to Bill Gates annual foundation letter sums up what I think is a more pressing difference between science and the humanities.

The problem is not that people don’t understand the need for serious evaluation – I honestly don’t know anyone making that argument. The problem is creating a space in which that can happen. This is what you should be doing with your annual letter, and with the clout that your foundation carries.

Failing that (or perhaps alongside that), lead by demonstration – create an environment in your foundation in which failure becomes a tag attached to anything from which we do not learn, instead of a tag attached to a project that does not meet preconceived targets or outcomes.

The expectation that learning is the value of a project rather than a specific outcome is stronger in science and science funding sources and this is where I think science has the advantage over humanities. Science is stronger in evaluation only because it is less focused on preconceived results, aside from learning. Initial funding is easier to acquire on this basis and it also lends itself to continuing funding from 1.0 to 2.0 since funding won’t necessarily stop once the expected outcome is reached. That’s my guess why eScience is bigger than Digital Humanities.