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Research issue in focus

Digital infrastructures of the knowledge society

Digital infrastructures refer to the use of digital innovations to create, share and disseminate knowledge. In the everyday live of our knowledge society, we use technical tools and organisational systems such as digital platforms to communicate, collaborate and circulate information. Thus, digital technologies play an increasingly crucial role in areas such as research, education, business or administration. In our research, we investigate how these digital infrastructures can be used for our society to share and make accessible the knowledge we generate.


What are digital knowledge infrastructures?

Digital knowledge infrastructure includes tools for data management, collaboration and communication, as well as platforms for sharing research results and digital content. The use of these digital technologies can facilitate research by making it easier for researchers to access data, to collaborate with each other and to share their results. These open and transparent research practices also enable new forms of science. Thus, digital knowledge structures have the potential to increase the speed, efficiency and impact of academic research.

What do we mean by a (digitally-networked) knowledge society?

In a knowledge society, knowledge is the most important resource for social, economic and media coexistence. Here, digital tools and systems offer better access to information and facilitate entirely new forms of collaboration. However, the digital knowledge society also harbours risks: for example, in questions of data security or in the case of unevenly distributed access to digital resources worldwide. In this context, research also plays a crucial role by producing new knowledge and training future generations of scientists. Therefore, academic institutions need to redefine their role in the knowledge society and adapt their practices to the digital age.

Why do we need to measure and evaluate the impact of scientific knowledge in society?

In a digital knowledge society, the methods for measuring the quality as well as impact of research must change, for digitalisation has the potential to transform all fields of research. It underlines the importance of taking greater account of the use of knowledge in practice. How do science and society interact with each other? How do stakeholders from politics, media, business and civil society process scientific findings? Only with these questions in mind can we meet the diverse challenges of today.

Videos from the HIIG cosmos

Digitaler salon

The fall of the paywall

In our Digital Salon, we discuss how to break down existing barriers and find innovative ways to share scientific knowledge with society (in German).

Elephant in the Lab

What is an elephant doing in the laboratory?

Benedikt Fecher introduces our in-house blog journal Elephant in the Lab and talks about some problems from science.


twentyforty – Utopias for a Digital Society

The twentyforty film takes the thirteen utopias for the digital society of the twentyforty project and adapts them for an episodic film.


Blog articles on the topic of digital infrastructures of the knowledge society

You can see a group of people from above doing lessons online. It symoblises digital teaching/digitale Lehre.

Sharing knowledge: Impact of Covid-19 on digital teaching

How can we address the many inequalities in access to digital resources and lack of digital skills that were revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Open Access, but not for free: Resilient financing for academic publishing

Open access publishing does cost money too. But if the reader does not pay, who else is? Modes of community publishing and funding provide answers and hint towards a crucial...

Possibilities for Change – Higher Education and Digitalisation

Bronwen and Moritz highlight the institutional challenges posed to Higher Education Institutions by the pandemic and outline how these can be viewed as a window of opportunity

Free technologies for the whole world to use – why open source hardware is in the public interest

Open source hardware (OSH) is an essential approach to public interest technology, not unlike well-maintained infrastructure. While OSH is a field with a range of challenges, we see tremendous potential...

How we use art for academic knowledge transfer

As an art collective we are passionate about escaping the academic ivory tower by translating our academic work into interactive art installations for the broader public. In our latest work,…

The Great Update of Research

The COVID 19 pandemic challenges society and its institutions. Science is particularly affected by the crisis, as it is expected to contribute with expertise to the solution of the problem….

Open access: critical mass

Marcel Wrzesinski has been Open Access Officer at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society for almost a year. The seasoned journal editor who’s been in academic publishing for about…

Empirische Daten und KI | HIIG

There isn’t enough empirical data on the impact of AI

Many articles in peer-reviewed journals that investigate the application of artificial intelligence to knowledge work refer to data and insights from blogs, newspapers, or data collected by consulting firms. This…

Academic impact outside of academia

What actually is academic impact? And how can one optimise the non-academic impact of research? Those were the key questions at the first “Impact School”, which was held at the…