The History Manifesto: Vision and Revision

Mar 31, 2015

From Jo and David

The History Manifesto was a first for academic history. By going open-access, it has reached broad audiences. Cambrige University Press put the book online for free; we invited the public in, and when they tweeted at us, we read, and sometimes tweeted back. 

Open access has new rules, and the rules keep one busy. The text of The History Manifesto was revised in two parts.  The edits were drafted over a period in November, December, and January after closely watching Twitter and the blogs, reading the praise and blame alike, and closely examining critiques. A revised version of Figure 2 came out on November 20, 2014, accompanied by an announcement of revision as a process; ten lines of tightened prose and five revised footnotes then appeared on February 5, 2015.  At the time, it made sense to to draw attention to the way that Twitter and online debate made possible a lively culture of collaborative exchange and thus to talk about a "process" of revision rather than to announce a revised edition.

However, there should be an official “revised manuscript” available to readers alongside a “manuscript of record”. That is what Cambridge University Press has now posted, listing all of the revisions in detail: the tightened lines of prose, the footnotes, and the altered illustration will all be described exactly as they were to the typesetter. Those who choose “download” on the History Manifesto website will have the opportunity to choose between an “original edition” or a “revised edition”, in the knowledge that all subsequent printings and translations of the book will include the changes in the latest revised edition.  This process is meant to be as transparent as we, the Cambridge University Press editors and designers, could possibly make it. Nothing was hidden in this process, and what might have been clarified earlier will now be made clear as of this new posting.


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