[spectre] Fwd:Concerning AHRC withdrawal of AHDS funding

Andreas Broeckmann ab at tesla-berlin.de
Tue Jun 12 09:44:13 CEST 2007

there was a message forwarded to the spectre list on 1 June from Barry Smith

># Concerning AHRC withdrawal of AHDS funding

in response, I asked:
'what are the reasons given by the AHRC for the discontinuation of
funding for AHDS? -a'

below is barry's answer, which i am forwarding with his permission, 
and as requested, with the following addition:

From: "Barry Smith" <barry.smith at btinternet.com>
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2007 11:56:13 +0100

feel free to forward as you wish.  The only point I'd raise if you're 
intending to leave my address intact is that I'm not an official 
spokesman for AHDS but just one (of many hundreds to judge by the 
"Petition to the UK PM" currently standing at 800+!) whose former and 
current work is thrown into disarray by this bizarre funding decision 
- so any follow-up enquiries would be best addressed directly to the 
principals involved:
[UK] Arts and Humanities Research 
Council:  <mailto:executive at ahrc.ac.uk>executive at ahrc.ac.uk
AHDS:  <mailto:sheila.anderson at AHDS.AC.UK>sheila.anderson at AHDS.AC.UK
Most recently I've even heard reports of much anger being expressed 
in academic research meetings ("anger"!) and whatever the rights and 
wrongs of the AHRC decision - and I don't see many rights myself - 
this particular UK Research Council seems to have lost the confidence 
of many of its constituents "in one fell swoop" and on three fronts:  
the rationale behind the decision, the lack of consultation and 
manner of the announcement, and now the implementation.

Best wishes.....     b.

From: "Barry Smith" <barry.smith at btinternet.com>
To: "Andreas Broeckmann" <ab at tesla-berlin.de>
Subject: Re: [spectre] Fwd:Concerning AHRC withdrawal of AHDS funding
Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2007 10:27:04 +0100

hello Andreas

A reasonable question.

The AHRC website

"Council believes that Arts and Humanities researchers have developed
significant IT knowledge and expertise in the past decade. The context
within which the AHDS was initially supported by the AHRC has changed. Much
technical knowledge is now readily available within HEIs, either from IT
support services or from academics. Much that generally can be safely
assumed now, for example that web sites can be put together and run
effectively for the duration of a project, could not be assumed ten years
ago. Council believes that long term storage of digital materials and
sustainability is best dealt with by an active engagement with HEIs rather
than through a centralised service"

I suspect AHDS are rather offended and phased by the suggestion that their
mission is to put together websites for the duration of projects and would
probably also wish to query the assertion that long term sustainability is
best achieved at a local level.

Other views suggest, following AHRC's announcement in March 2007 of 
impending budget cuts,  that a more direct financial imperative is at 
work here, see

To judge by the rapid growth of the UK PM Petition many seem 
persuaded that the rationale and manner of this decision and its 
immediate implementation give cause for concern, not least over the 
Council's apparent lack of appreciation of the range and complexity 
of national and international work being undertaken.



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