Open Science and DH tools that come handy at the time of corona (and beyond)

As a response to the challenges ahead, from last week, suddenly online became the default means of teaching for the great majority of European schools and higher education institutions. It is clear that the thoughtful use of online technologies will play an even more critical role in our everyday life, work or social. In response to the immediate challenges coming with the rapid switch to online-only teaching systems, a variety of crowdsourced collections started to float around on Twitter, blogs and other online platforms (you can find a selection them at the bottom of this post) – and I could not help but think about some Open Science and DH tools that I think could be valuable additions to any distant learning setting, regardless on which institutional apparatus we have at our disposal.

So here are my quick additions of proven solutions that you can flexibly repurpose for your and your students’ needs as well as timely quality responses to the time of corona that appeared on my watchlist. Please take it as an invitation to add yours here in comments, on twitter or on your own blog – let’s build a nurturing DH corner in the pandemic crisis.

1. Unpaywall 

Working from home, you and your students may not have remote access to your institutional subscriptions (not to mention how much these subscriptions vary from one institution to another, from one country to another). The Unpaywall Firefox/Chrome extension is a free and legal (!) way to skip the paywall on millions of peer-reviewed journal articles. It detects green Open Access versions of scholarly literature. 

2. Open annotations ( or Paperhive)

You don’t need to relinquish the joy of reading together with your peers. Open annotation tools allow you to keep the conversation about your reading alive by discussing, sharing, enriching and keeping connected different interpretations of a text – even in real time. Both and Paperhive offer you easy to use, customizable annotation layers for free that work on a variety of digital text formats (including this post [1]). You can use them either as a more dynamic form of assignments or simply to maintain and manage communities around texts (e.g. in a virtual journal club). To see how open annotations bring value to a teaching setting, check out this recent case study authored by Andrea Bertino and Heather Straines. 

3. OSF Meetings

The mass-cancellation of in-person events doesn’t mean that you lost all your chances to share your work with your colleagues. The Meeting service run by the Open Science Framework (Center for Open Science) offers conference crowds virtual meeting ‘halls’ to share and long-term archive their work for free! If you would like to promote sharing of (cancelled) conference presentations and posters amid COVID-19 cancellations, the free OSF Meetings service is available for you. Sign-up here: and use the conference hashtag. (Thanks for the tip, @@BrianNosek!)


Speaking of virtual spaces, OMEKA (see its documentation here: ) is a real treasure tool for co-creation also in a distant education setting (involving both teaching and learning elements) with abundant possibilities from digital arts history projects to community archives. One of its most timely applications (an instant crush of mine at the time of writing) is the A Journal of the Plague Year, a community archive documenting the impact of CoVid19 on everyday life. It was initiated by Catherine O’Donnell, Richard Amesbury, and Mark Tebeau in the School for Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University but everyone (including you and me) are welcome to contribute. (Thanks for spreading the word about it, @ScrivenerSmith). 

5. A carefully curated collection of digitized collections 

Although the study of cultural artifacts usually involves consulting both the originals and their digital surrogates, why not use the digital-only access period to stop for a moment and help students to reflect on the state of digitization and its epistemic entailments? Reading and annotating together Mitchell Whitelaw’s study, Generous Interfaces for Digital Cultural Collections and collecting a rich set of examples from GLAM interfaces as case studies could be a good starting point to initiate such discussions. In this portal, created by Dr. Mia Ridge, digital curator of the British Library, you can find a collection of virtual tours, exhibitions, digitised objects, texts, etc, plus a custom search engine for quick searches.

6. Online trainings from DARIAH Campus

Of course, DARIAH’s rich pool of training resources are also here for you! Did you know that recently we launched a training platform called DARIAH Campus? It brings together DARIAH-affiliated materials available elsewhere, for instance, modules from #dariahTeach and the PARTHENOS Training Suite under a shared ‘roof’ and search facilities to help their discovery. In addition to them, we also host resources that are available directly on the platform. For instance, the DARIAH Pathfinder to Data Management Best Practices in the Humanities navigates you through the major data management challenges you might be dealing with as a humanist. Under ‘Events’, you can find materials from and recordings of face-to-face training events such as summer/winter schools allowing you to catch up with them even if you were not able to attend them. All these resources are licensed CC-BY 4.0, which means that you can freely reuse, mix & match them. 

From Augmented reality to XSLT: browse Open Access training resources at DARIAH Campus!

My special recommendation: if you are planning to use the time spent at home to start experimenting with open research notebooks, Javier de la Rosa’s session from the DESIR Shaping new approaches to data management in arts and humanities winter school (December, 2019) is a spot on! You can find the video recording, the slides and other supplementary materials in them here

In the coming period, we will come back with more posts and will experiment with different possibilities to stay connected and use our home time to explore the power of collaborative and open scholarly practices that go well beyond virology.

[1] To see the annotations, just open the post in Chrome and make sure that the extension is on.


Generic crowdsourced resources for online HE teaching 

OpenEdition suggests that you cite this post as follows:
Erzsebet Toth-Czifra (March 16, 2020). Open Science and DH tools that come handy at the time of corona (and beyond). DARIAH Open. Retrieved July 25, 2024 from

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. 22/11/2020

    […] Ripartiamo dal crowdsourcing: un vaccino anti COVID-19 per la ricerca umanistica italiana, or the Open Science and DH tools that come handy at the time of corona, were indeed helpful, and a good starting point for a discussion. But ten months have passed now, […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search