UMass Press and UConn's Greenhouse Studios receive $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation


We are excited to announce that Greenhouse Studios at the University of Connecticut, in partnership with University of Massachusetts Press, has been awarded a two-year, $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the research and testing of peer review, publishing, and preservation workflows for digital scholarship.

“Working together, Greenhouse Studios and UMass Press will research, model, and test the workflows that will make digital scholarship work within the longstanding conventions of the academy,” says director of Greenhouse Studios, Tom Scheinfeldt. “Finding new modes of peer review, distribution, financial sustainability, and long-term preservation better matched to the diverse outputs of digital work – we need to tackle all of these challenges to bring digital scholarship fully into the mainstream of academic teaching and research.”

Recognizing that the reform of scholarly publishing for a digital age requires more than just new tools, Greenhouse Studios’ initial 2017 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation explored how new collaborative and interdisciplinary workflows could be developed for digital and nontraditional forms of scholarship. This led to the formation of their design-based, inquiry-driven, and collaboration-first model of scholarly production.

Building on this foundation, Greenhouse Studios and UMass Press will investigate how digital humanities centers and their university press partners can best guide digital scholarship to publication. To this end, they will research and model peer review and publishing workflows in order to evaluate the scholarly merit of digital projects; bring credit to the teams that created them; distribute and market works to intended audiences; track impact, and provide for long-term preservation.

“Greenhouse Studios’ strides in developing collaborative, ‘design thinking’ methodologies offer a model for how the field can tackle the complexities of producing digital works,” says Mellon Foundation Program Officer Patricia Hswe. “Alongside complementary efforts at the University of Cincinnati, Brown University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, UConn and UMass Press are at the forefront of visioning the role of academic libraries in the publication of 21st century scholarship.”

Advised by a board composed of university press professionals and digital preservation experts from Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University Press, the Library of Congress, Manifold Scholarship / University of Minnesota Press / GC Digital Scholarship Lab (CUNY), MIT Press, Stanford University Press, and University of Michigan Press, the team will chart a path for future collaborations between digital studios and university presses, reimagining scholarly publishing best-practices and workflows in the process.

“UMass Press has a distinguished record of publishing and I’m delighted to see this collaboration between the Press and Greenhouse Studios at UConn. Their research will undoubtedly help universities better understand how to assess, value, and distribute digital scholarship,” says UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy.

With several projects already slated for publication and testing, including virtual reality experiences, interactive web-narratives, game-based scholarship, and media-rich edited volumes, Greenhouse Studios and University of Massachusetts Press are well-positioned to explore questions that are vital to the future of scholarly research and publishing.

“Greenhouse Studios is a model for the kind of innovative work UConn stands for,” says UConn President Thomas C. Katsouleas. “We are thrilled to be working with our partners at UMass Press to lead the digital transformation of university research.”