Digital Publishing and Tenure and Promotion

Many scholars have asked us: do digital publishing projects count toward tenure? How much so? Do they count as much as printed books and articles, and other more traditional formats? There is no one answer and tenure and promotion review varies widely from institution to institution. However, digital publishing is not a niche effort applicable only to certain researchers. It is widely recognized as scholarly, valuable, and innovative across many disciplines. Here is what some of the world's leading academic professional organizations have to say about digital publications in regards to tenure and promotion. We provide this both in order to encourage researchers interested in digital publishing and as resources with which to approach tenure and promotional advisory boards.


American Anthopological Association
Statement on Electronic Publishing

"The rise of digital publishing presents opportunities as well as challenges for scholars. Digital publishing benefits the environment, lowers production costs, speeds the dissemination of new work, allows access to new forms of data, and broadens the audience for anthropological research. It reflects the ever-growing trend for journal articles to be searched for, accessed, and read in a digital format.... For the purposes of evaluating faculty for retention and promotion, review committees and administrators should assess the standing of electronic publications according to the same criteria as they judge traditional print venues. Such factors as acceptance rates, the robustness of peer-review, and the strength of a publication's editorial board are relevant indicators of impact.


American Historical Association
Guidelines for the Professional Evaluation of Digital Scholarship by Historians

"The AHA offers 'a broad working definition of digital history' as 'scholarship that is either produced using computational tools and methods or presented using digital technologies.' That definition will embrace a steadily growing proportion of historical scholarship in coming years, and so it is important that departments, chairs, and committees develop a clear understanding of these developments."


Moden Language Associtation
Statement on Electronic Publication

"The MLA believes that electronic publishing in the humanities is a rich medium for the dissemination of scholarly work and that its continuing development offers exciting possibilities.... Electronically published journal articles, monographs, and long-form scholarship are viable and credible modes of scholarly publication. For the purposes of hiring, reappointment, tenure, and promotion, departments evaluating scholarly publications should judge journals, monographs, or other substantial scholarly works according to the same criteria, whether they are published in digital or print formats. For electronically published scholarship, these criteria may include a journal's peer-review policy, its rate of acceptance, the nature of its editorial board and publisher, a press's rigor in editorial process, and the general profile of the journal or press in the field it covers. Electronic publications should receive credit comparable to that given to print publications."