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Credit where credit is due

28 July 2016

A production company contacted the DIFP office recently looking for assistance with a project. Their call was nothing out of the ordinary. 

Their assumption was that DIFP would provide assistance and act as historical consultants free gratis. No reference was made of DIFP being credited in any manner. 

Cold calls for consultancy work do open fascinating avenues of new research. However in seeking legal opinion or medical advice one would expect to pay for the service.  Why not so in historical research?

You may have seen this article on Twitter. We did and it got us thinking. 

This post is not to suggest a singularly mercenary streak to DIFP, which is after all a public service project. Rather it is to suggest that those who do research work get acknowledged in a suitable manner. This may be in a research fee, a credit or an acknowledgement.

Some time back DIFP gave some research assistance to a well-known figure – a steer in a requested direction, some expert guidance on a topic. When the end result appeared we didn’t even get thanked.

DIFP’s advisory role had simply disappeared.  We had been airbrushed out of this particular history.

And this is nothing unusual.

A thank you goes a long way. It stops the hard graft of researchers being taken purely for granted. And it points out that behind every major publication, documentary and podcast are hours of toil at the research coalface in archives and libraries by highly-trained experts in their field.

It’s one of the many reasons to encourage further funding in the Humanities and more specifically to support the ongoing work of the Irish Association for Professional Historians  in promoting a greater awareness of the expertise available in the historical profession in Ireland today. 

Their message is clear: skilled qualified researchers are available and they are up to the task. But they cannot be expected to anonymously provide consultancy or to provide it without appropriate credit. Credit must be given where credit is due.

Fan ar an eolas le nuachtlitir Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann

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