I've been following the work of Tom Mullaney, historian at Stanford University for a while now. Stanford University Press, with the help of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is exploring new publishing channels for digital scholarship. From development, to peer review, to marketing, Stanford's digital publishing initiative supports its scholars in conveying their ideas using emerging media and digital tools. By advancing this new publishing process the purpose is to establish the same level of academic credibility on digital projects as print books typically receive, this hopefully supports the efforts of scholars in the humanities and social sciences that have for so long have worked so hard on digital scholarship that was outside the traditional road to tenure and promotion without reaping the rewards. This recognition is an important development in the academic and scholarly publishing world.
Mullaney’s project, The Chinese Deathscape, integrates interactive maps with accompanying scholarly analysis, examining the spatial relocation of graves in China over time. His work, scheduled to be published in spring 2018, is one of six digital-only projects Stanford University plans to release in 2018 and 2019. The press, in a partnership with Stanford University Libraries, has also been exploring how to copyright the interactive works and ensure that they are archived and accessible in the face of a constantly changing publishing landscape. This is an exciting development in the field of digital scholarship, and the humanities. As the initiative proposes:
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 interpret data. Yet, there are no formal channels for publication or consistent peer review standards for digital projects. Our initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, allows us to advance a publishing process that helps authors develop their concept (in both content and form) and reach their market effectively to confer the same level of academic credibility on digital projects as print books receive.At my institution, I'm following similar developments with the collaboration between the UBC Press and the University of Washington Press developing a digital publishing platform in Indigenous studies thanks to a three-year grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Together, UBC Press and the University of Washington Press will develop a digital platform for Indigenous multimedia books. Based on Scalar, an authoring and publishing platform, it will offer a suite of tools for linking data and analyses to digital content from around the world and for interacting in culturally sensitive ways with heritage materials. It's even hired a Digital Publishing Coordinator and Digital Developmental Editor to build the infrastructure. It's exciting times ahead at UBC and Stanford.