The Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences which was set up by the American Council of Learned Societies, has just produced a final draft report for comment to the community.
It defines cyberinfrastructure as the new research environments in which high-performance computing tools are available to researchers on a shared network and contrasts this with the existing infrastructure of libraries, museums, archives etc. which has been built up over many years in collaboration with scholars.
The report recommends the continued expansion of the online research environment, with appropriate strategies for digital preservation. It concludes by saying that if this approach is followed:
there will be a significantly expanded audience for humanities and social science research, among the general public. A relatively small audience on the open Web will still be a far larger audience than scholars in these disciplines have been able to find up to now in academic bookstores, in research libraries, and in print journals.
The final report is expected in the autumn of 2006.