The University of Minnesota Press announced earlier this week that it, with the GC Digital Scholarship Lab at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, has been awarded a $732,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch the Manifold Scholarship digital initiative. The funding will allow UMP and and CUNY’s digital humanities center to continue their partnership in producing UMP’s scholarly books in digital formats.
In a release, UMP stated that the funds will be used to “define and create the next phase of scholarly publishing: monographs that open the boundaries of separate formats like ‘print’ and ‘e-book.” The Manifold Scholarship funds will allow UMP to produce interactive digital editions of titles it is publishing in print. The e-books will be made available on an open-source platform.
Manifold’s customizable platform will allow for the scholarship contained in each book to be revised and expanded upon to reflect subsequent developments in research and findings in that particular field. Manifold will also enable users to track the scholarly work as it is conceptualized, researched and written. Post-publication, Manifold will provide access to primary research documents and data, as well as links to online archives, related social media, and other reading tools.
Once the press acquires a manuscript, Doug Armato, UMP’s director said, it will commit--if the author consents--to “putting pieces of out there.” He added: “The monograph is often thought of as scholarship’s past. We believe Manifold will show it can also be scholarship’s future, when it is reconfigured to take full advantage of network technologies.”
According to Armato, Manifold Scholarship is in line with UMP's history of experimentation. He said the press has been pushing boundaries "from the beginning" as it has continually sought "new audiences.” UMP, which was founded in 1925, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. The press has 3,200 titles in print, and will publish 110 books in 2015.
While Manifold Scholarship is intended for UMP’s scholarly releases, the press intends to make the technology available to other nonprofit publishers.