I’m pleased to announce a new partnership between PressForward and OpenEdition. PressForward is the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media’s project to study and produce alternative means scholarly communication. OpenEdition, led by the Centre for Open Electronic Publishing in Marseille, shares many of the same goals but on a much larger scale: it seeks to develop a sustainable digital platform for publishing scholarly content and will be supported over eight years by a 7 million euro grant funded by the French Higher Education and Research Ministry. Our role at RRCHNM will be to develop and support PressForward’s multilingual integration into OpenEditions’s overall platform.
The partnership is being funded by the French Agence nationale de la Recherche’s Equipex program, which funds cutting-edge large-scale projects looking to integrate international teams and targeting an international audience. This award is especially noteworthy because it’s part of France’s much larger Investissments d’avenir (Investments for the Future) program which has allocated a staggering 35 billion euros for funding, 22 billion of which is reserved for higher education and research. The fact that this enormous pot of public funding is open to digital humanities projects (and really, those from any field) sharply distinguishes this program from the American model, where public funding is strictly siloed among NEH, NEA, NSF, NIH, etc., and where humanities budgets are comparatively tiny.
It’s also a great example of how DH can become increasingly internationally collaborative. Formal programs like the DFG/NEH awards and the Digging into Data Challenge have become a excellent means of facilitating bilateral partnerships, but informal relationships are where such collaboration begins. Cléo, the organization behind OpenEdition, has been working closely with RRCHNM for several years, and team members have twice come to Washington to meet with us to discuss alternative publication models and sustainability. Because my research often takes me to Europe, I’ve had the good fortune to meet with Cléo director Marin Dacos in France and Italy to discuss Zotero and publishing.
This kind of legwork is by no means unique. My colleague Mills Kelly, another historian of Europe, has been encouraging digital scholarship for years as part of his close ties with Swiss infoclio.ch. An interest in Zotero sparked another collaboration with finance historian and DH enthusiast Frédéric Clavert, who’s now working diligently to build a European DH community with ties across the Atlantic (and to learn programming). Just showing up, meeting people, and finding shared research interests is one of the very best parts of academic life, and it’s nice to see it translate into project funding even across borders!