The aim of this program is to increase access to human knowledge and the fruits of human culture while developing a better framework for understanding the information economy. To date, the program has primarily encouraged digitizing material in the public domain; assuring public archiving, preservation and open access of this material; and fostering its availability to people everywhere through such technologies as books on demand. The technology now exists for universal access to the sum of all knowledge. The potential benefit to humanity is enormous, but it needs to be done in a truly open and non-exclusive basis, with the emphasis on the public good.
Scholarly Communications program focuses broadly on all stages in the life cycle of scholarly resources. The program complements fellowships and other kinds of support for research and teaching at research universities, independent research centers, libraries, and museums by promoting the cost-effective creation, dissemination, accessibility, and preservation of high-quality scholarly resources in humanistic studies broadly defined.
Grantmaking occurs principally in five main categories: new methods of creating scholarly resources, innovations in scholarly publication, cataloging and other forms of access, preservation, and research and evaluation. The Foundation is especially interested in developments that:
- Use forms of scholarly communications to stimulate collaborations among scholars and scholarly institutions in ways that substantially advance knowledge;
- Foster the means economically to sustain forms of scholarly communication; and
- Apply technology to forms of scholarly communications in order to improve quality, lower costs, speed up work, open new perspectives, or make work possible that would otherwise be difficult or impossible.