Publishing Digital Scholarship

The nascent fields of digital humanities and computational social sciences have ballooned in recent years. Emergent technologies (and scholars’ increasing fluency with these technologies) are providing academics with new ways to visualize, analyze, and package data. The Mellon Foundation—an active champion of these budding approaches—has seeded programs and initiatives at a number of universities with grants geared toward exploring new platforms, and encouraging specialists to think along digital lines while researching, writing, and conceptualizing how best to present their arguments and findings.

In 2014 the Mellon Foundation awarded a 1.2 million dollar grant to Stanford University Press to formalize the development, publication, and preservation of digital-born scholarship. In partnership with the University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab, the Press aims to establish an ecosystem of peer review and accreditation for digital projects that is consistent with the rigorous standards of article and monograph publishing.

“One goal for establishing a publishing methodology for interactive scholarly works is to provide a distribution channel that is held in the same high regard as the long-form monograph counterparts,” says Alan Harvey, Director of SUP. “It is our intent to give scholars an opportunity to accumulate a digital publishing pedigree that provides the same consideration for hiring and tenure as traditional book publishing offers.”

Already, a handful of projects have been selected to serve as initial test cases for this new venture, the first of which pulls prose, photography, and geospatial mapping into concert to explore Henry Peabody’s 1905 slideshows of the Grand Canyon. This project—developed by post-doctoral Geography scholar, Nicholas Bauch—was green-lighted as the pilot project owing to the skillful interplay of subject matter and technical features of the work—selection criteria which will be the hallmark of all future digital acquisitions. 

If you are interested in publishing your digital project with Stanford University Press or have questions about our initiative, please contact Friederike Sundaram, acquisitions editor for digital projects.