09 Jul 2021

New JASIST Paper on DH Scientometrics

Our new JASIST paper on the role and position of digital humanities in the academic landscape is now available open access.

Digital humanities—A discipline in its own right? An analysis of the role and position of digital humanities in the academic landscape

Interactive plot

If you want to browse the above plot in an interactive way, please go here.

You will find a UMAP projection of journal articles from DH and 15 other academic disciplines that is based on LDA-generated topics and agglomerative clustering. For more details about the corpus and the approach please see the paper:

Luhmann, J., & Burghardt, M. (2021). Digital humanities — A discipline in its own right? An analysis of the role and position of digital humanities in the academic landscape. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.24533 (PDF)

A list of all topics that were identified for the corpus of 34k journal articles is available here.


Although digital humanities (DH) has received a lot of attention in recent years, its status as “a discipline in its own right” (Schreibman et al., A companion to digital humanities (pp. xxiii–xxvii). Blackwell; 2004) and its position in the overall academic landscape are still being negotiated. While there are countless essays and opinion pieces that debate the status of DH, little research has been dedicated to exploring the field in a systematic and empirical way (Poole, Journal of Documentation; 2017:73). This study aims to contribute to the existing research gap by comparing articles published over the past three decades in three established English-language DH journals (Computers and the Humanities, Literary and Linguistic Computing, Digital Humanities Quarterly) with research articles from journals in 15 other academic disciplines (corpus size: 34,041 articles; 299 million tokens). As a method of analysis, we use latent Dirichlet allocation topic modeling, combined with recent approaches that aggregate topic models by means of hierarchical agglomerative clustering. Our findings indicate that DH is simultaneously a discipline in its own right and a highly interdisciplinary field, with many connecting factors to neighboring disciplines—first and foremost, computational linguistics, and information science. Detailed descriptive analyses shed some light on the diachronic development of DH and also highlight topics that are characteristic for DH.


  • Schreibman, S., Siemens, R., & Unsworth, J. (2004). The digital humanities and humanities computing: An introduction. In S. Schreibman, R. Siemens, & J. Unsworth (Eds.), A companion to digital humanities. Blackwell.
  • Poole, A. H. (2017). The conceptual ecology of digital humanities. Journal of Documentation, 73, 91–122.


For more information about the project please contact Manuel Burghardt.