nl en

Academic cultures: Research communication in the Humanities


Admission requirements

This course is available for students of the Honours College Humanities Lab.
Students in the first year of their bachelor’s programme who achieve good academic results and are very motivated, may apply for a place in Humanities Lab.


Students in the Humanities Lab come from a wide range of programmes, from African Studies to Urban Studies, to name just two options. Courses in such programmes usually focus on transferring knowledge and research skills from a specific scholarly discipline.
Little attention is given to the processes through which newly-generated academic knowledge finds its way in academia and to broader audiences. Specific scholarly cultures have their own, diverse habits for producing research results, and moreover for describing, disseminating, amplifying, making discoverable, reading, appraising, evaluating and archiving them. For centuries, scholars have traditionally been writing formal publications – books and journal articles. Yet in the twenty-first century, they also email, blog, vlog, lecture, write on forums, draft preprints, upload datasets, deliver conference papers, create games, and much more besides. All these research communication practices are crucial to academics and their professional partners in libraries, publishing, and research policy. This course aims to make explicit the practices in the variety of Humanities research fields, as well as the underlying systems of scholarly communication and publishing and the dynamics in them.
We will closely investigate the scholarly communication and publication practices of various disciplines in the Humanities. Students will be asked to reflect on their own habits and expectations, reviewing literature from and about their own BA study programme, analysing existing publication channels and communication venues, and observing and interrogating scholars’ practices. Comparing students’ findings will give us a grip on the providence of differences in communication practices across the Humanities.

Course objectives

Gain insight in the existing scholarly fields in the Humanities and the communication practices within them;

  • Develop an understanding of the distinct epistemology and social organisation of Humanities scholarship, within the wider realm of academia;

  • Reflect on the communication practices in the discourse of their own field of study;

  • Develop a synthesis of the values, norms, and expectations that these scholarly cultures share;

  • Be able to recognize dynamics of potentially conflicting interests between stakeholders in scholarly communication;

  • Share their critical reflections with fellow students from other scholarly fields in oral presentation and written communications.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


The final product is a Portfolio consisting of four different assignments, selected by the student from a range of options (for instance: a book review, an interview, a vlogpost for a wider audience, etc.) presented at the beginning of the course. One of these assignments will have to be collaborative; one of them must contain an oral component.


The final mark for the course is established by (i) determination of the weighted average of the four assignments in the portfolio, combined with the additional requirement (ii) that three out of four assignments be sufficient (graded 6 or up).


Attendance is compulsory for all meetings (lectures, seminars, excursions, etc.). If you are unable to attend, notify the lecturer (listed in the information bar on the right) in advance. Being absent may result in lower grades or exclusion from the course.


The resit for this course consists of the same components as the first attempt: students must submit a Portfolio of four assignments.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. Students can requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results.

Reading list

Required reading:

  • Rick Anderson, Scholarly Communication: What Everyone Needs to Know (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018). ISBN: 9780190639457 (paperback), online available via Leiden University Library.

Recommended further reading:

  • Rob Johnson, Anthony Watkinson & Michael Mabe, An Overview of Scientific and Scholarly Publishing (5th ed., International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers, 2018).

  • Helen Small, The Value of the Humanities (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)

  • Peter Suber, Open Access (Cambridge [MA]: MIT Press, 2012).

Additional readings will be made available via library links, on Brightspace.


Students participating in this module will be enrolled in MyStudymap by the Education Administration Office of Humanities Lab. Students can register for the Humanities Lab modules about two to three weeks before the start of the module through an online form provided by Umail. On this form students indicate the modules in order of their preference. The coordinators assign students to a module based on their preference and bachelor’s programme, in order to create a diverse group of students and equal amount of students per module Usually students get assigned to the module of their first or second choice.
General information about MyStudymap is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


This course is part of the Humanities Lab programme, visit the website for more information.
Visit the Honours Academy website for more information about the Honours College.