UBC Press digital start-up wins global prize for Multimodal Publishing

Posted: Friday, May 03, 2024

RavenSpace Publishing came into being so that Indigenous authors and their scholarly co-authors and creators could publish long-form, interactive digital works such as As I Remember It.

On May 2, RavenSpace was awarded the highest global award for multimodal scholarly publishing: the Arcadia Open Access Publishing Award. The Award recognizes that transformative publishing is possible, and opens standards of excellence in publishing to embrace diverse forms of cultural expression. We are grateful to the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the Arcadia Fund for this global recognition, which comes in tandem with the award for the authors of As I Remember it - Elsie Paul with Davis McKenzie, Paige Raibmon, and Harmony Johnson. The authors are recipients of the $20,000 ACLS Open Access Book Prize for making an original and compelling intellectual contribution with a clear impact for scholars and/or wider audiences.

“This award shines a light on the remarkable work of Tla’amin elder Elsie Paul and her co-creators. I hope this win will inspire confidence among others to do this kind of workknowledge holders, elders, and academic partners to pursue their goals for dissemination,” said RavenSpace Publishing founder and UBC Press Assistant Director, Darcy Cullen, who accepted the award in Baltimore.

Quotation from Darcy Cullen

The publisher’s award comes with $30,000 to the publisher. The Arcadia OA prize will help UBC Press to publish future born-digital OA works, and to attract investment in publishing community-driven digital works.

RavenSpace works in an ethics-first manner, mindful of OCAP and CARE principles, and Indigenous data governance concerns around sharing cultural property. Indigenous community members – elders and knowledge holders – review the work and provide feedback, which is incorporated by the author(s). As a scholarly digital publisher which sprang out of UBC Press, RavenSpace centres Indigenous expertise in the peer-review process.

The judges spoke of the depth of the work:

As I Remember It is compelling because it looks both to the future and the past. The intellectual contributions are massive: preserving a lost language, culture, and folkways. The aspects of what has been lost to colonialism and racism are acknowledged while being clear about what heritage is being preserved. It also allows for persons new to the ideas, language, and culture to experience it in ways that approach being authentic, not mediated by other groups of institutions.”

RavenSpace congratulates our fellow publisher, the University of London Press for their win in the History category, and the work by Simon P. Newman Freedom Seekers: Escaping from Slavery in Restoration London. In his comments, ACLS President Joy Connolly said:

“ACLS is proud to award these outstanding authors and publishers, whose commitment to open access is helping transform the way scholarly insights reach people inside and outside the academy, adding that “their books freely provide communities worldwide with accurate research on topics that have been historically and often intentionally held at the margins of academic inquiry. We look forward to continuing our work with Arcadia to cultivate an ecosystem in which humanistic publications thrive in a larger circle of readers.”

For more than 100 years ACLS has supported the creation and circulation of knowledge that advances our understanding of humanity and human endeavors. Amplifying humanistic scholarship through initiatives such as the ACLS Open Access Books Prizes helps cultivate a twenty-first-century ecosystem in which humanistic publications can thrive.

The American Society of Learned Societies, represents 41 of the United States’ most prestigious universities, and 80 Member Societies in the humanities and social sciences, who in turn represents tens of thousands of scholars. The Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences is an affiliate of ACLS.

UBC Press is grateful to The Mellon Foundation Public Knowledge program for the generous grants that made it possible to create RavenSpace Publishing.

Donations to RavenSpace Publishing will go toward completing Indigenous publications currently underway.

Posted in RavenSpace
Posted by Megan M.
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