The newly launched journal Reviews in Digital Humanities has received a $66,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support its growth as the only publication dedicated to peer reviewing digital scholarship. Launched in January 2020, the journal is being piloted by editors Roopika Risam, PhD, of Salem State University in Salem, Mass., and Jennifer Guiliano, PhD, of IUPUI in Indianapolis, Ind.
Reviews in Digital Humanities was created to help address a need for peer review of digital humanities scholarship. For scholarship, the peer review process fosters critical discourse and is often upheld as the gold standard in tenure and promotion decisions. However, scholarly communities have yet to fully understand how to peer review scholarship that is digital in form. Risam and Guiliano highlight the importance of publication opportunities for pre-tenure professors and their continued scholarship, sharing that offering peer review of digital scholarship is especially important for women and scholars of color who have been historically disadvantaged by the tenure and promotion process.
“The work of digital humanities scholars doesn’t fit neatly into the current landscape of peer-reviewed print and monograph publications,” said Risam. “As technology evolves, publications must evolve with it. Reviews supports the long-term growth of digital humanities scholarship, as we use these tools to understand the world around us and expose some of society’s greatest inequities.”
"Peer review is a vital part of how scholars contribute to the growth of digital humanities,” said Guiliano. “This grant will allow us to convene a meeting of leaders in digital humanities to discuss how to standardize and share peer review criteria alongside our partners at Educopia. We want to ensure that we serve all digital humanists by extending the impact of a positive peer review culture to academics and non-academics alike."
Reviews in Digital Humanities features projects such as digital archives, multimedia or multimodal scholarship, digital exhibits, visualizations, digital games, digital tools, and digital projects. Upon acceptance after a peer-review process, Reviews publishes 500-word overviews written by project directors along with the reviews submitted by members of digital humanities communities. Five issues of the journal have been published to date.
The Mellon Foundation’s $66,000 planning grant will support the continued development of Reviews as Risam and Guiliano work to close the gap in peer-reviewed digital publications.
Patricia Hswe, Program Officer for Public Knowledge at the Mellon Foundation, said, “As a highly collaborative form of knowledge production, digital scholarship typically merges disciplinary expertise with a range of other specializations, including technology, archives, GIS, and data storytelling. Defining peer review for these efforts needs bold experimentation and community input, as well as keen perspectives on what it takes to help peer-reviewed digital scholarship to flourish.”
In addition to continuing to publish regular issues of Reviews in Digital Humanities, additional future plans include, but are not limited to: broadening the network of reviewers and projects; creating special issues; developing a process for aggregating and potentially republishing reviews from other journals; building capacity in the PubPub platform currently in use; and undertaking long-term planning activities for the journal after its pilot period.
About Salem State University
Salem State University, established in 1854, is a comprehensive, public institution of higher learning located approximately 15 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. One of the largest state universities in the Commonwealth, Salem State enrolls more than 7,500 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 32 undergraduate programs and graduate programs that offer degrees in 24 fields. The University also has a continuing education division that offers both credit and non-credit programs. Known for the academic strength of its faculty, Salem State was named a Top Producer of U.S. Fulbright Scholars in 2011 and for the 2016-2017 academic year. The University is designated a Top College and University by Military Advanced Education and a Best for Vets College by Military Times. Salem State proudly participates in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement and has shown a student voting rate well above the national average, earning the university a gold seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.