The Renaissance goes digital

“Shakespeare and His Friends at the Mermaid Tavern”, Thomas Dekker on the far right. Image public domain.

Publication models continue to evolve and respond to the digital age but it is not always the case that we see rigorously peer reviewed scholarly work available freely online without passwords or paywalls. However, a new publisher, Digital Renaissance Editions (DRE), has done just that using the publishing platform and virtual infrastructure of the complementary Internet Shakespeare Editions.

Among its first publications are new editions of two Renaissance plays by Flinders Professor Joost Daalder. Written by Shakespeare’s contemporaries Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton, ‘The Honest Whore’ Parts One and Two are now available freely online after their launch at the Shakespeare Association of America’s 43rd Annual Meeting. “Free access to the public and permanence of one’s publication played a part in my decision to ‘go digital’”, noted Professor Daalder. The online publication also allows for a breadth and complexity of material, including multimedia annotations and collations of textual variants as well as facsimile text and a version in which the spelling and punctuation are modernised. “I have always believed that a facsimile text, as well as a modernised version, should be available to serious readers – the format of DRE makes this ideal a reality,” said Professor Daalder, “which can in practice hardly be paralleled by hard copy editions”.

Professor Daalder is no stranger to the online environment, being the very first Flinders researcher to deposit his publications in the Flinders Academic Commons (FAC). His 117 open access papers have been downloaded over 95,000 times in the last four years by visitors from all over the world. The FAC now contains records of over 20,000 Flinders publications from all disciplines, and has over 280,000 views annually.

Digital Renaissance Editions is just one example of innovative scholarly publishing that is free to read; we can of course expect to see further innovations as online publishing continues to evolve. eResearch@Flinders looks forward to hearing of developments involving Flinders researchers – please get in touch if you have a story to share!

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Digital Humanities Open Access Publishing

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