Grants & Initiatives 

Below is a full list of our active and completed grants & Initiatives.


 Partnership for Open Publishing (2023) 

The Partnership for Open Publishing (POP) is a model developed by the Press to advance scholarship originating across the 17-campus system. Building on open-source software developed during the Next Generation Library Publishing pilot, our ambition is to develop a new, low-friction model of open access journal publishing where usage increases exponentially while reducing financial burdens among all the participants in the ecosystem: scholars, societies, presses, libraries, and readers. Working with Longleaf Services, the POP will ultimately become an extensible business model to support a wide variety of potential future implementations outside the UNC System. 

POP will be a partner with the emerging ARC-Alliance at UNC Chapel Hill and we have already received a grant from The Richard J. Reynolds, III and Marie M. Reynolds Foundation to support this work.

Path to Open (2022) 

Path to Open is a three-year pilot that tests a new funding model for open access monographs. It aims to make one thousand scholarly books–across humanistic disciplines and from a diverse group of university presses–freely available to readers. UNC Press director John Sherer was one of the original developers of the concept, which is now supported by the ACLS and being implemented by JSTOR. 

The Press was also able to redirect unspent funds from the Mellon Foundation from the Sustainable History Monograph Pilot to facilitate community building around this project. This exercise will have a particular focus on ensuring that historically marginalized communities of libraries, universities, authors, and readers are centered in the work.

NEH Fellowship of the Open Book Grants (2020) 

The Fellowships Open Book Program is a limited competition designed to make outstanding humanities books digitally available to a wide audience. By taking advantage of low-cost e-book technology, the program allows teachers, students, scholars, and the public to read humanities books that can be downloaded or redistributed for no charge. 

The Press has participated in multiple rounds of the FOBP grants, making numerous high-quality books available.


The Sustainable History Monograph Pilot (2018 – 2022) 

The Sustainable History Monograph Pilot (SHMP) is an Andrew W. Mellon-funded initiative to publish open digital editions of high-quality books from university presses in the field of history. Working collaboratively with Longleaf Services, nineteen university presses participated in the pilot.

Next Generation Library Publishing (2019 – 2022) 

In August of 2019, UNC Press’s publishing services division, Longleaf Services, was chosen as one of five partner institutions to execute a $2,200,000 grant awarded to the Educopia Institute, by Arcadia—a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin—in support of the “Next Generation Library Publishing” project. Longleaf worked with the other partners (California Digital Library, Confederation of Open Access Repositories, LYRASIS, and Strategies for Open Science) to provide new publishing pathways for authors, editors, and readers by advancing and integrating open source publishing infrastructure to provide robust support for library publishing.

NEH/Mellon Humanities Open Book Program (2016 – 2019) 

The Humanities Open Book Program was designed to make outstanding out-of-print humanities books available to a wide audience and was jointly sponsored by NEH and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Over four years, the Humanities Open Book Program made 31 awards to university and non-profit presses to support the release of digital, open access editions of humanities books, released under a Creative Commons license. UNC Press participated in two OBP grants. 

The Press and its partners, UNC Chapel Hill’s Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and the UNC Library, are pleased to make available 124 monographs, translations, and critical editions. This is the first time these works will be available as ebooks, which will be accessible in open access PDF and EPUB (with a few exceptions) formats, as well as in new paperback editions. Learn more at: 

The Press and Appalachian State University Libraries were granted funds to digitize and provide open access to the publications of the Appalachian Consortium Press, which is no longer 

operational. The Appalachian Consortium Press was founded in 1973 – the first publisher devoted to Appalachia. The ACP published scholarly books and reference materials, including the first contemporary and comprehensive bibliography of the region, oral histories, environmental studies, and poetry. Learn more at: 

Kenan Trust Grant to Support Justice, Power, and Politics Book Series (2019) 

The Press received a grant from the William R. Kenan Charitable Trust to support a six-month campaign to strengthen industry partnerships and build new audiences relating to its Justice, Power, and Politics book series. 

Collaborative Services Platform for University Presses (2015 – 2017) 

In December 2014, the University of North Carolina Press received a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create a suite of scaled publishing solutions addressing many of the current challenges facing university presses. These offerings, developed upon our wholly owned distribution affiliate Longleaf Publishing Services, are providing savings, tools, and efficiencies to presses in ways which could not be achieved individually. With a particular emphasis on publishing high quality digital monographs there were three categories of services being developed: Editorial/Design/Production Services; Marketing Services; and Publishing Operations. 

UNC President Thomas Ross and Kenan Trust Grant Launch Office of Scholarly Publishing Services (2015 – 2016) 

In August 2015, with grant funds provided by the office of University of North Carolina president Thomas W. Ross, the University of North Carolina Press launched the Office of Scholarly Publishing Services (OSPS) with the purpose of providing sustainable, mission-driven publishing models and solutions to the campuses of the UNC system. Additionally, the Press received a $50,000 one-to-one challenge grant from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust to support the work of the OSPS. Established in honor of President Ross for his vision and support of the OSPS, this $100,000 expendable fund provides small grants for publishing projects.

Digital Infrastructure Grant from Kenan Trust (2014 – 2015) 

In September of 2013, the Press was awarded a grant from the William R. Kenan Charitable Trust to address challenges brought about by the digital transformation of publishing. UNC Press Director John Sherer led a staff-wide effort to implement investments in digital infrastructure.

Mellon Exploratory Grant (2013 – 2014) 

The Press received an exploratory grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the development of an expanded publication model. In particular, the Press was seeking a model that can successfully and sustainably connect the emerging forms of scholarship being created by the new digital humanities movements with the forms long associated with university press publishing. 

Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement (2008 – 2013) 

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this collaborative project underscored the longstanding commitment of the University and the University of North Carolina Press to promote and publish the best scholarship on the subject of civil rights. 

A central purpose of the project was to expand publication opportunities in both print and digital formats, exploring new ways of documenting the past, promoting scholarly collaboration, and developing new methods and business models for disseminating interdisciplinary content about the civil rights movement. 

The project combined efforts from the following four UNC entities: (1) The University of North Carolina Press; (2) The UNC–Chapel Hill University Library; (3) The Center for Civil Rights (CCR) of the UNC–Chapel Hill School of Law; and (4) The Southern Oral History Program (SOHP) at the UNC–Chapel Hill Center for the Study of the American South.