Purpose – The peoples living in the Balkan Peninsula over centuries have created a very rich cultural heritage and the constant political upheavals in the region have affected the development and preservation of their cultures. This paper aims to review the internet infrastructure and networked readiness levels of the Balkan countries, which are conducive to scientific co-operation and preservation of digitised cultural heritage. It also explores the destructive effects of wars on the cultural riches of the region. Design/methodology/approach – The internet facilities and the scientific production of the Balkan countries were identified using published sources and Thomson’s Web of Science database. A game-theoretic approach was used to expound the consequences of wars and the adverse effects of the nation-building process on cultural heritage artefacts. Findings – Balkan countries lack sound internet infrastructures, hindering their contributions to the world of science and stifling scientific co-operation among themselves in terms of joint papers. The co-ordinated efforts have yet to exist to streamline the digital preservation of the unique cultural heritage of the Balkan countries. Originality/value – This paper discusses the impact of the nation-building process on cultural and scientific heritage artefacts using the concepts of the “game theory”. It reinforces the fact that destroying the cultural heritage artefacts during wars is not a “zero-sum game” in which the dominant culture wins and the “other” culture loses. It is not even a “lose-lose game” in which both parties lose. Rather, humanity loses part of its whole cultural heritage forever.
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