SUP launches a publishing program for projects in the digital humanities and computational social sciences.
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.
Through this endeavor, SUP hopes to facilitate the work of digital humanists and computational social scientists.
Owing in no small part to the Mellon’s support, the digital humanities and computational social sciences are a growth industry in academia, yet for many academics the prospect of pursuing digital projects may present a significant opportunity cost. Whereas journal and monograph publishing both have established ecosystems of peer review and accreditation—making them key benchmarks in the careers of scholars—there are no formal channels for “publication” or consistent “peer review” standards analogous to article and monograph publishing for digital projects.
At SUP, we want to change that.
Beginning this year, in partnership with the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, and under the auspices of a grant from the Mellon Foundation, Stanford University Press is launching a new initiative to formalize the development, publication, and preservation of digital-born scholarship.
“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.”
Over the course of the next few years the Press aims to standardize a publishing pipeline for projects, which by definition, take on myriad forms. To help mint this process, the Press will hire a dedicated Digital Projects Editor and a Digital Production Associate who will provide scholars with both editorial and technical support as they bring their projects to fruition. 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.
Edward L. Ayers, president of the University of Richmond, anticipates that this publishing program “will accelerate the transition to multifaceted digital publications, encourage thoughtful experimentation, and document and promulgate best practices.” Through this endeavor, SUP hopes to facilitate the work of digital humanists and computational social scientists, and to attract still more minds and viewpoints to these fields, while also setting new standards for the 21st century academic publisher.
For more details see the full press release announcing SUP's Mellon grant: