The Knowledge Complexity (or KPLEX) Project was funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020 to bring a humanities dimension to the activities of the much larger, industry focussed Big Data Public/Private Partnership. Its success was inherently linked with how it drew on DARIAH networks and knowledge.
KPLEX produced high-caliber research outputs, as well as reaching a number of key non-academic audiences, including policymakers, industry and the general public, through its applied approach and focus on how the digital humanities might reach out to address new audiences and societal challenges.
The audiences of the KPLEX results included digital humanities and science and technology studies research communities, as well as industry, policy and the wider public.
The origins of the KPLEX project can be dated to the larger perspective that DARIAH integration provided to an earlier project, CENDARI (Collaborative EuropeaN Digital Archival Research Infrastructure). CENDARI was a very different sort of project from what KPLEX would ultimately become, with a clear focus on building research infrastructure for historians. However the project raised a significant number of meta-level questions regarding the limits of data federation, and the limits of knowledge creation within the context of a federated system. Interactions within the DARIAH network and through its services were able not only to confirm the wider validity of these reflections, but also propose some innovative mechanisms by which to extend these reflections into a wider, industry-facing project.
The project was integrated into a large number of European policy initiatives, including the Big Data PPP, Big Data Value Association (BDVA) and Big Data Value Ecosystem (BDVE), as well as the Advisory Board of the HubIT project for SSH integration into ICT research. These points of integration resulted in part from the initial positioning of the project as an ICT ‘sister’ project, a modality of project designed by the European Commission to bring an innovative SSH research perspective to the ICT programme topic areas. Humanities-led projects in this industry-driven space are rare, and the project ultimately had unique opportunities to contribute to debates about the development of big data research and innovation (such as through the project’s presentation at the Big Data Value Forum in Versailles, France, in 2017).
In spite of its limited duration (15 months) the project produced 4 major chapters or journal articles, a co-authored book, an open dataset, 3 policy reports, and 5 significant examples of public outreach. Many of these publications are seeing significant reuse, while the European Network of SSH National Contacts (Net4Society) featured the project as one of its ”Integration Success Stories”. Another reuse story of these publications was seen in the first workshop of the SHAPE-ID project on inter- and transdisciplinary humanities on the question of how Arts and Humanities disciplines can position themselves as leaders or equal partners in research addressing societal challenges.
Primary Scientific Publications
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Reviewed in The Sociological Review as: “...a significant text for digital humanities and science, technology and society studies, or for anyone who is serious about understanding digital cultures in the post-truth era.” https://thesociologicalreview.org/reviews/the-trouble-with-big-data-by-jennifer-edmond-nicola-horsley-jorg-lehmann-and-mike-priddy/
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Policy and Industry Publications
ERCIM (European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics) News: Number 111 October 2017, pp. 20-30