JHU Press receives $200K grant to digitize more than 200 out-of-print books

Project receives support from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities

Johns Hopkins University Press, in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries, has received a $200,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities to create digital editions of more than 200 significant but currently out-of-print scholarly books published by the press.

The grant also makes it possible for these new digital editions to be accessible for free through MUSE Open, a new publishing initiative by Project MUSE, the highly regarded online collection of scholarly journals and books.

"This is wonderful support for our core mission of making important scholarship accessible to readers worldwide," said JHU Press Director Barbara Kline Pope, "and it echoes the transformative funding from Mellon and NEH a generation ago that helped the press and library at Johns Hopkins create Project MUSE in the first place. We're grateful for this latest example of visionary investment in the future of scholarly communication."

To prepare for the project, an editorial team at the press worked closely with collections specialists at the Sheridan Libraries to review thousands of out-of-print works that are currently difficult or impossible to access. The grant will enable the press to create new digital editions formatted for maximum discoverability and ease of access, and to make them available for free to readers around the world.

The books selected for the project include works in American and European history, literary studies, and philosophy, and they represent some of the most intellectually and academically consequential scholarship published by Hopkins Press.

  • In the field of U.S. history, selected works offer insights into the shifting contours of historiographic methodologies and explore the disciplines of American economic history, political and legal history, and the history of technology.

  • Titles in European history highlight interdisciplinary works that have both advanced knowledge and contributed to the changing methodologies of the study of history writ large.

  • Works in literary criticism range from American and British literature to critical theory and include celebrated titles that have helped spark the major theoretical paradigm shifts in the field over the last 40 years.

  • In philosophy and political theory, the works selected have informed ongoing philosophical and theoretical debates and address topics such as the American public sector's recent turn toward privatization and the relationship between economic development and democratization.

The digitized works are expected to be available through MUSE Open in fall 2019.

"As a leading publisher of scholarly books by extraordinarily distinguished authors, we are excited about a new publishing model that brings these works to a new generation of readers," said Greg Britton, editorial director at JHU Press and the principal investigator for the grant. "With the generous support of NEH and Mellon, and with such capable partners as Project MUSE and the Sheridan Libraries, we can ensure that this credentialed and time-tested work is freely accessible, eminently discoverable, and can once again inform scholarly and public discourse."