Announcement | Brown Library Receives NEH Grant for Digital Publishing Institute

National training program centered on diversity and inclusion aims to broaden the range of scholars producing born-digital publications and, by extension, the audience for digital humanities scholarship.

Providence, R.I. [Brown University] Brown University Library has received a $169,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to create a training institute on digital publishing. Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Road Maps will support scholars who wish to develop innovative born-digital scholarship intended for publication by a university press but lack the necessary resources and capacity at their home institutions.

Born-digital, multimodal monographs allow authors to articulate and advance scholarly ideas through the innovative use of digital tools and/or data as well as interactive, media-rich enhancements in ways that are not possible in a conventional book. While there is growing support for this path breaking approach to scholarship on the part of academic institutions, disciplinary organizations, grantmaking organizations, and university presses, there is currently no “how to” manual or comprehensive training opportunity for what is a complex, rapidly evolving endeavor.

The National Endowment for the Humanities and Brown University together: Democracy demands wisdom.

Three-Week Institute

Designed to demystify and streamline the path to digital publication, Brown Library’s three-week hybrid institute, to take place in July 2022, will equip a cohort of fifteen humanities scholars with in-depth knowledge of the digital publishing process, familiarity with open-source tools and platforms, advanced project management skills, concrete and individualized plans for project advancement, and top-level publishing industry contacts. The institute will be open to a variety of scholars, including unaffiliated scholars, adjunct professors, and part-time faculty, from different disciplines, career stages, institution types, and geographical locations. 

Accessibility and Inclusion

Moreover, through the purposeful training and mentoring of under-resourced scholars, the institute will help bridge a digital divide that, without intervention, puts digital publishing, as a future of scholarship, at risk of becoming the preserve of the most elite and affluent institutions. By making the born-digital publication process more accessible and inclusive, the institute will foster the elevation of underrepresented voices and subject matter, thereby diversifying the output of teaching and learning resources as well as expanding the readership for digital scholarship. In recognition of its recently extended membership in the HBCU Library Alliance (the first non-HBCU addition to the historically Black colleges and universities alliance), Brown University Library will prioritize some of the cohort slots for faculty from member institutions.

According to Allison Levy, the Library’s Digital Scholarship Editor and project director for the institute, “Perhaps the most intentional element of the institute’s design to have far-reaching implications for humanities research and teaching is Brown’s commitment to support under-resourced scholars. This crucial re-prioritization of how and for whom the practice and production of digital humanities scholarship is taught will have a profound impact on current and future generations of scholars.”

Digital Publications Initiative at Brown

Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Road Maps builds upon the successes of Brown’s Digital Publications Initiative — a collaboration between the University Library and the Dean of the Faculty, generously launched with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2015. The Initiative has established a novel, transformative approach to the development of longform, multimodal works that make original and meaningful contributions across the humanities. The Initiative also collaborates with publishers to help shape new systems of evaluation, peer review, and scholarly validation for born-digital scholarship. Brown saw its first project published in 2020 by the University of Virginia Press; two others are forthcoming with Stanford University Press and MIT Press, respectively; and eight projects are in various stages of development.

“We feel incredibly fortunate to have this kind of opportunity to expand the reach and impact of our efforts to advance the possibilities of digital publication for first-rate scholarship,” said Brown’s University Librarian Joseph Meisel. “I am also eager to see all that we will learn from working with the institute’s fifteen scholars, and the ways they will help inform our approach and practices going forward.” 

Questions about the institute or the Library’s Digital Publications Initiative generally can be addressed to Allison Levy, Digital Scholarship Editor ([email protected]).

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

The National Endowment for the Humanities and Brown University together: Democracy demands wisdom.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this press release and in the Born-Digital Scholarly Publishing: Resources and Road Maps Institute do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.