2017-11-21 08:41

20 years of unique and open access

Twenty years ago, the journal Human IT was founded at the Swedish School of Library and Information Science. Not only was the journal before its time regarding the subject in focus, but it was also one of the first scientific open access journals in the world.

”A lot of research might be hard to access these days, when articles are linked to large publishers and high subscription fees. In this case, the University of Borås finances the publications to make it available, and has done so from the start twenty years ago. This is something I think we should be very proud of”, says Helena Francke, docent in the Swedish School of Library and Information Science, and former editor of Human IT.

Human IT is a forum where researchers can share scientific findings and methods. The submitted articles are reviewed by other researchers to ensure that they maintain a high qualitative level, a so-called peer review.

Meeting between humans and technology

The meeting between humans and information and communication technology is in focus of the publications. The articles of the journal have an interdisciplinary approach and are about technical phenomena from a humanities perspective. This means that there is an examining or reasoning angle that looks at how technology is related to humans from a social or cultural perspective.

“Human IT is an international journal with many articles in English, but the researchers may also publish in the Scandinavian languages. This is invaluable when source material for example is in Swedish – not everything is translatable”, says Helena Francke and Anna-Malin Karlsson agrees, professor of linguistics at Uppsala University who on several occasions has contributed with articles to the journal.

“So much has happened in the fields that are dealt with in Human IT. When Internet came, linguistic researchers mainly focused on what was new. We regarded those who chatted online as something exotic, and their language as something specific to them. Today we look at language on the Internet as a part of something bigger and more comprehensive. Today, Internet is part of everyday life, and internet users are ordinary people. I could imagine that researchers in other fields have developed their approach in a similar way”, says Anna-Malin Karlsson.

Celebrated with open lectures

The journal’s anniversary was celebrated last Thursday as a part of the university’s 40th anniversary, with a half-day of open lectures with, among others, Anna-Malin Karlsson and Jonas Linderoth, professor in pedagogy, who has also contributed with a number of articles over the years.

“I have devoted most of my research to gaming research. From the start, Human IT was the platform that completely governed the field of gaming research in Sweden. I cannot emphasise enough what this journal has meant for my own development of knowledge”, he says.

The fact that IT and computer-related research was not initially invited into the inner circles of the humanities and social sciences was a recurring theme during the celebrations.

“At this time, those who researched about or through their computers were isolated and longed for contact. Human IT became not only a way to disseminate your research results but also a way to find people with similar interests”, says Mats Dahlström, docent in the Swedish School of Library and Information Science, and one of the founders of the journal.

Read more

The journal Human IT is now completely online-based and open access. Read more on the journal’s web site. 

More information about the University of Borås at 40 years old can be found here.

Text and photo: Helen Rosenberg

Translation: Linda Lindstedt