The University of Minnesota Press partners with CUNY's GC Digital Scholarship Lab to launch MANIFOLD SCHOLARSHIP—a platform for iterative, networked monographs—with grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

New model focuses on transforming longform scholarly authorship

Apr 20, 2015

Minneapolis, MN (April 20, 2015) — The University of Minnesota Press in partnership 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 Manifold Scholarship. This grant marks the continuation of an ambitious collaboration between a university press and a leading digital humanities center to advance scholarly authorship and publishing in a digital environment.

Moving beyond the digitization of scholarly books, based primarily in siloed, read-only analogues to print such as Adobe Acrobat PDF and Epub, Manifold will define and create the next phase of scholarly publishing: monographs that open the boundaries of separate formats like “print” and “e-book.” Foreseeing an emerging hybrid environment for scholarship, Manifold will develop, alongside the print edition of a book, an alternate form of publication that is networked and iterative, served on an interactive, open-source platform.

"The monograph is often thought of as scholarship’s past," said Douglas Armato, director of the University of Minnesota Press, "but we believe Manifold will show it can also be scholarship’s future, when it is reconfigured to take full advantage of network technologies, digital communities, and on-line archives. We’re very excited to partner again with the GC Digital Scholarship Lab at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York to develop this project."

"We are in a rich moment of open experimentation as scholars and university presses attempt to broaden the reach and scope of academic research in networked environments," said Matthew K. Gold, director of the GC Digital Scholarship Lab and associate professor of English and digital humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY. "And with its ongoing projects like Forerunners and Debates in the Digital Humanities, no university press is taking smarter or more aggressive risks than the University of Minnesota Press."

In Manifold, a digital scholarly work would not be a static replication of the print book. From the beginning it is dynamic, revised, and expanded to reflect the evolution of academic thought and research, incorporating access to primary research documents and data, links to related archives, rich media, social media, and reading tools. Manifold seeks to encompass the growth and refinement of academic work as it is discussed, reviewed, and analyzed.

Manifold Scholarship will track a work as it is conceptualized, researched, written, and read. University of Minnesota professor of history and Press editorial board member Kevin Murphy states: "Manifold Scholarship has the potential to transform academic publishing by giving scholars who are innovating in digital humanities the opportunity to share their research in all of its complexity, rather than to conform to traditional modes of monograph publication. The iterative approach to digital publishing allows authors to give readers access to diverse source materials to engage directly with interlocutors on sources and interpretation, thereby opening the scholarly process to collaboration."

Minnesota and The Graduate Center will work again with the web development team at Cast Iron Coding, who partnered with them to build the open-access book platform Debates in the Digital Humanities ( The three collaborators will establish Manifold’s development platform as a public project from day one, sharing preliminary work and concepts, updating progress, and including discussions about the problems being tackled. The project tracker, and the source code repository, will be public for the entire process, and the final product will be an open, customizable platform available to other presses and the public. Comments Zach Davis of Cast Iron Coding: "We hope to engage stakeholders in scholarly communications and perhaps even a larger community with this open and transparent approach."

For more information on Manifold Scholarship and this Mellon Foundation grant, please contact Heather Skinner, Publicist, at or 612-301-1932.

For information on submitting a Manifold book project to the University of Minnesota Press, please contact the editor most suited to your subject area.

About the University of Minnesota Press: Founded in 1925, the University of Minnesota Press is widely considered one of the most innovative U.S. university presses and is best known as the publisher of groundbreaking social and cultural thought, critical theory, race and ethnic studies, urbanism, feminist criticism, and digital media studies. In 2006, it received a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop Quadrant, an initiative for collaborative research and publication. Minnesota also publishes a diverse list of books on the cultural and natural heritage of the state and the upper Midwest region. The Test Division of the Press publishes highly regarded personality assessment instruments, including the MMPI-2-RF. For more information visit

About the GC Digital Scholarship Lab: The GC Digital Scholarship Lab, whose project-based work centers on the use of technology in research and teaching, is a research space at the Graduate Center, CUNY, the principal doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York. The Lab focuses particularly on creation of collaboratively produced and community-based free software platforms for scholarly communication and public engagement.



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