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During the 2014-2015 academic year, a working group of Emory University faculty and administrators met over a period of six months to explore a new model for supporting and disseminating book-length publications in the humanities. The working group included Dr. Tanine Allison, Dr. Martine Brownley, Dr. Vincent Cornell, Dr. Michael Elliott, Dr. James Hoesterey, Dr. Gary Laderman, Dr. Jeffrey Lesser, Lisa Macklin, Dr. Sarah McPhee, Dr. Pamela Scully, and Dr. Allen Tullos.

The working group’s primary conclusions, published in The Journal of Electronic Publishing, include the following:

  • We place a high premium on long-form scholarship. The monograph has been deeply important for the humanities, and we seek to preserve and extend the research and thinking that it represents.
  • We endorse a model of university funding for digital monograph publication. We believe that a university-funding model is necessary to share more equitably with publishers the rising costs of monograph production.
  • We are entering a period of increased variegation in humanities publication. The publication of print monographs will continue alongside the development of new digital options for long-form scholarship.
  • We endorse open access publication of long-form scholarship, while addressing concerns about preservation and discoverability.
  • We seek to ensure the high quality of scholarship. Digital publications need to be of the same high quality that we expect of print publications in order to meet the standards of tenure and promotion committees.

The full report is available here: "The Future of the Monograph in the Digital Era: A Report to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation."

Following its successful Mellon Foundation planning grant to understand the future of the monograph in the digital age, Emory University was awarded $1.2 million to initiate a second phase of work over the next four years.  The second phase prioritized production, processes, and education. The grant, entitled “The Changing Landscape of Publication in the Humanities,” provided subvention funding for six open access monographs by Emory faculty. This goal was quickly surpassed: by the end of the second phase, seventeen open access monographs had been published or were in development.

In 2021, Emory University was awarded $850,000 for a third phase of the project, this time focusing on sustainability and outreach. During this phase, we have continued our program of subventions for open access publication and expanded them beyond the Emory community through partnerships with Atlanta University Center and Agnes Scott College. We also created the Digital Monograph Workshop, which supports the development of digitally-enhanced monographs in cohorts which bring together faculty from within and beyond Emory. While phase three of the grant will conclude in 2024, Emory College Office of Faculty has committed to sustaining its programs beyond that date and has already begun match funding our open access grants for faculty books.