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Sharing Knowledge In Learned and Literary Networks. The Republic of Letters as a Pan-European Knowledge Society

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "SKILLNET" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 3584 CS

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Netherlands [NL]
 Total cost 1˙998˙750 €
 EC max contribution 1˙998˙750 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-COG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-07-01   to  2022-06-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITEIT UTRECHT NL (UTRECHT) coordinator 1˙998˙750.00


 Project objective

Most scholars today are in favour of sharing their knowledge freely, even if there is no guarantee that they will get something in return. Apparently they assume that there is some greater good involved in sharing knowledge. Where does this ideal of knowledge come from? SKILLNET demonstrates that the ideal of sharing knowledge is a legacy of a bottom-up social network of scholars and scientists who transcended religious, political and linguistic boundaries through their correspondence with one another. From about 1500 to around 1800, the ‘citizens’ of this knowledge-based civil society referred to their community as the ‘Republic of Letters’ (RL). SKILLNET will show that the ideal of sharing knowledge proved so powerful that even after 1800, the RL has continued to be a model of tolerance and exchange for the global intellectual and academic community. The central thesis of this project is that the RL was held together by the ideal of sharing knowledge. To support this thesis, SKILLNET applies two theoretical frameworks which are entirely new to the study of the RL. First, it conceptualises the RL as a ‘knowledge commons’ devoted to the production and management of knowledge. Second, it conceptualises the RL as an ‘imagined community’ whose culture of memory and identity was defined by the ideal of sharing knowledge. To operationalise these theoretical frameworks, the project uses two methodologies which are also new to the study of the RL. The first is large-scale social network analysis: SKILLNET digitally unravels the social structure of this huge network and its development over time. The second is digital text-mining: analyses of a large corpus of texts to trace changes in the semantics of key ethical concepts across time and space. SKILLNET presents an innovative history of knowledge, made possible through an unprecedented pool of ‘big data’ which allow a long-term diachronic perspective and a representative spatial and social geography.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Dirk van Miert, Milo van de Pol
The Correspondence of Guilielmus Surenhusius
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
2019 Tobias Winnerling, Dirk van Miert, Milo van de Pol
The Correspondence of Adriaan Reland
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
2019 Koen Scholten, Asker Pelgrom
Scholarly Identity and Memory on a Grand Tour: The Travels of Joannes Kool and his Travel Journal (1698–1699) to Italy
published pages: 93-136, ISSN: 2033-4753, DOI: 10.2143/lias.46.1.3286812
Lias: Journal of Early Modern Intellectual Culture and its Sources 46:1 2020-02-04
2018 Samantha Sint Nicolaas, Dirk van Miert
A Catalogue of the Correspondence of Anna Maria van Schurman (244 letters)
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
2018 Dirk van Miert
Hans Bots, De republiek der letteren. De Europese Intellectuele Wereld, 1500-1760, Nijmegen: Vantilt, 2018 (book review)
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Vooys 36:4 2019-02-25
2018 Dirk Van Miert
Hans Bots, De republiek der letteren. De Europese intellectuele wereld, 1500-1760
published pages: 278, ISSN: 2543-1587, DOI: 10.18352/emlc.74
Early Modern Low Countries 2/2 2019-02-25
2018 Samantha Sint Nicolaas, Dirk van Miert
A Catalogue of the Correspondence of Anna Maria van Schurman (244 letters)
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:

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The information about "SKILLNET" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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