Digital Publishing FAQ

Why do we need a publishing process for digital scholarship?

Emergent technologies (and scholars’ increasing fluency with these technologies) are providing academics with new ways to present scholarship. Yet for many academics the prospect of pursuing digital projects may present a significant opportunity cost. Whereas journal and monograph publishing both have established ecosystems of peer review and accreditation—making them key benchmarks in the careers of scholars—there are no formal channels for publication or consistent peer review standards for digital projects. This initiative will allow 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.

Is anybody else doing this?

While there are numerous efforts underway within digital scholarly publishing, we are the only publisher providing a process to take born-digital scholarship through the established stages of book publishing with the same care and rigor that would attend a print book. Under the auspices of a generous 3-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we have partnered with the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab to develop and refine a robust publishing pipeline and best practices for publishing digital projects.

What kind of projects are you looking for?

We are seeking projects across the humanities and social sciences in which the marriage of content and form creates a compelling overall argument that advances scholarly conversations. We are not seeking tools, reference works, or encyclopedic compendia but rather projects that present arguments that engage with existing issues in their respective fields. For more information on submitting a proposal, please read our guidelines for digital project proposals.

Will Stanford University Press build the digital component for authors?

No—we believe the form of digital-born scholarship is integrative to and constitutive of the project’s overall argument. Structure and content are welded closely together in interactive scholarly works, and it is the role of the author to conceptualize this interplay. Our role through the development and production process is to optimize existing frameworks.

What kind of platforms will these projects be hosted on?

Projects are hosted on a variety of platforms. We support the use of open-sourced solutions and platforms but also welcome platforms custom-built for specific projects where existing platforms can’t accommodate the needs of a project at hand.

What will grant funds be used for?

Grant funds have been used to create an infrastructure for publishing digital projects—including the creation of two new jobs at the Press solely dedicated to the digital program. The funds also underwrite our robust marketing efforts for digital projects.

What’s the business model for these projects?

The Mellon Foundation is fully funding our projects in the initial phase, but we are committed to exploring different business models in the final year of the grant. Our aim is to build the initiative into a sustainable model not only within SUP’s infrastructure but for other publishers to consider too.

How can I access these projects?

Projects are available online and can be accessed via our site or the project’s unique URL.

Do I need permission to make use of any part of SUP’s digital projects?

Our projects will be licensed under specific Creative Commons (and, where applicable, GNU) licenses and each project will be clearly marked with the license under which it is made available. If you are unsure what the license allows you to do or are interested in permissions beyond that license, please feel free to contact us at