Cornell Open is a global open access portal for both new and classic out-of-print titles from the distinguished catalog of Cornell University Press. Funded by the Humanities Open Book Program, a collaborative effort between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Cornell Open offers open access to key titles in the fields of anthropology, classics, political science, literary criticism and theory, German studies, and Slavic studies.
“As America’s first university press we are extremely honored to have received generous grants from the NEH and Mellon to help expand our role as a leader in open access scholarship through Cornell Open,” said Cornell University Press Director Dean Smith. “Our close collaboration with the Cornell University Library and noted scholars in the field has ensured that the Cornell books chosen for this project are ones that will truly make a significant global impact in each of their respective fields.”
“Cornell Open is the result of a longstanding collaboration between the Press and Cornell Library,” said Gerald Beasley, Head Librarian. “Libraries and presses must work together now more than ever to support the publication of primary scholarship in the humanities and social sciences.”
Press and Library staff selected the books to be digitized with the NEH grant by examining over two decades of the library’s circulation statistics for influential Press titles which are currently out-of-print. Scholars and subject specialists in selected fields were then asked to evaluate the list of prospective titles using both this quantitative data and their own knowledge of research and teaching needs in their specialty areas, to choose those books of greatest continuing interest and relevance. The methodologies used in selecting these books can be viewed in the original NEH/Mellon grant proposals from 2015 and 2016.
Cornell University Press
Cornell University Press shares the university’s mission to promote a culture of broad inquiry worldwide through the publication of scholarship that is engaged, influential and of lasting significance. Established in 1869 as the first American university press, shortly after the founding of Cornell, the press is aligned with the university’s strengths by disseminating knowledge in key academic disciplines, while commanding its own distinct editorial profile. Works published under its imprints reflect a commitment to excellence through rigorous evaluation, skillful editing, thoughtful design and strategic marketing.
The Press was originally founded to publish the scholarly achievements of the university and, by hiring student workers, to help those in need to learn a trade and support themselves during their studies. The Press was inactive between 1884 and 1930, but publishing activities continued through the efforts of Comstock Publishing Associates, established by two Cornell professors. From that beginning, the Press has grown to be a major scholarly publisher, with nearly three thousand books in print and over one hundred new titles a year.
Humanities Open Book Program
The Humanities Open Book Program is designed to make outstanding out-of-print humanities books available to a wide audience. By taking advantage of low-cost ebook technology, the program will allow teachers, students, scholars, and the public to read humanities books that have long been out of print. Humanities Open Book is jointly sponsored by NEH and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.