National Archives and Mellon Foundation Partner to Create Digital Edition Publishing Cooperatives
Press Release · Thursday, March 23, 2017

Washington, DC

The National Archives, through its National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation today announced a partnership for Digital Edition Publishing Cooperatives planning grants. The purpose of the new grants initiative is to plan for, and build, a sustainable system for the publication and discovery of digital editions that make historical records readily accessible to scholars, students, and the American people.

After two decades of experimentation, individual scholarly editions continue to find it difficult to build and maintain their own digital infrastructure for creating and disseminating their work, and most producers of digital scholarly editions lack access to predictable, affordable, and sustainable publication channels.

Up to $2 million in funding will be provided from the Mellon Foundation, with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission assisting in managing the process, including the selection of grant recipients.

David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, welcomed the partnership. “We are delighted to join with the Mellon Foundation in addressing a critical need to create long-term sustainable digital editions of historical records. These Cooperatives will allow projects to share resources and best practices and to address the pressing questions of scholarly publishing and online access. It promises to be groundbreaking.”

Donald Waters, Senior Program Officer for Scholarly Communications at the Mellon Foundation concurred.  “The Digital Revolution has produced a torrent of new sources of evidence in digital formats that are critical to an understanding of the human condition.  Scholars have been experimenting since the early 1990s with digital methods of organizing these sources into critical editions that could fuel future research and teaching.  This initiative seeks to identify the best of these experiments and turn them into durable forms of digital publication.”

Developing the Digital Edition Publishing Cooperatives will be a two-stage process for Planning and Implementation. Up to eight planning grants will be awarded in December 2017 for the first stage of this multi-year endeavor. Each project team will consist of a principal investigator and a lead representative from each of at least three participating editions and the host institution(s). During the Planning stage, each team will develop a proposal for implementing a Digital Edition Publishing Cooperative. Planning grants are for one year and up to $100,000.

All planning teams would be eligible to apply for Implementation funding. Three implementation grants of between $350,000 and $500,000, each for up to three years, are expected to be awarded, for a total of up to $1.25 million. Implementation grants will be awarded in September 2019.

The first deadline for project teams is July 6, 2017. More details and full applications for the Digital Edition Publishing Cooperatives are available online.


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