Reassembling Scholarly Communications: An Evaluation of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Monograph Initiative

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Maxwell, John W., Alessandra Bordini, & Katie Shamash. 2017. “Reassembling Scholarly Communications: An Evaluation of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Monograph Initiative.” Journal of Electronic Publishing 20 (1), April, 2017.

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DOI: 10.3998/3336451.0020.101
Scholarly communications
Economics of monograph publishing
University presses

This report is a consideration of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's 2014–2015 scholarly communications initiative, which focused on helping to develop new capacity in the monograph-publishing ecosystem.

This report looks at thirteen projects funded through the initiative in 2014 and 2015. The proposals came from different stakeholders in the monograph ecosystem: university presses, libraries, faculty, and one consulting organization. They include studies of the economics of monograph publishing; plans to develop new faculty or staff competencies; the development of new software systems to support the pro-duction or publication of scholarly works; and the development of new operation and business models that aim to streamline and find efficiencies in the infrastruc-ture for producing and distributing scholarly works.

The range of the funded projects is very broad. This appears to be a result of the open-ended way the Mellon Foundation invited proposals; innovation in digital publishing is an experimental process requiring imagination, an open mind and relative freedom from preexisting drivers and operational assumptions. The Foun-dation's approach seems to have been to seek out interesting projects and ideas in a variety of places, and to look for opportunities to help move these ideas forward, without being overly directive about particular outcomes. This, we believe, is ap-propriate to the task of advancing a very complex tradition of scholarly communi-cation, especially in an apparent time of crisis.

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