By dwhly | 12 September, 2012

We’re now the proud recipient of a $525k grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Digital Information Technology program. We were first approached by Josh Greenberg, the program director, last fall during our Kickstarter funding drive. Later that year, they provided an initial $20k grant for our Reputation Modeling Workshop this past February.

After the workshop we discussed our financing needs for this next year, and worked with Josh and his team to lay out our plans in a formal application for funding. We’ve now been awarded that funding, which will go a long way towards the design, development and early launch activities we have outlined for the coming year.

We’re particularly sensitive to the source of the funds we get here at We want to make sure that everything we do, from architecture, to messaging, to funding, reaffirms our ideals of transparency, neutrality and openness. We couldn’t be happier with Sloan’s affirmation of these goals, and with the vote of confidence in us and our mission that this funding represents.

The Digitial Information Technology area of the Sloan Foundation is focused on supporting Universal Access to Knowledge, Data and Computational Research and Scholarly Communication. Their website characterizes it thus:

This program seeks to better our understanding of the relationship between technology, information, and society, primarily through research on and the development of digital information technology for the conduct of scholarly research and public engagement with knowledge.

And specifically with regard to Scholarly Communication:

The shift to digitally-mediated forms of scholarship has been characterized by a substantial growth in channels for and diversity of scholarly work. We see this in the flourishing of content in preprint servers and rapid-publication channels like arXiv, PLoS ONE, and the Social Science Research Network alongside unconventional forms of scholarly communication like research blogs and personal websites, all of which enable scholars to put their work out for broad access.

Grants in this sub-program aim to ease this transition by supporting the development of new models of filtering and curating online scholarly materials and by engaging the emerging community of stakeholders and practitioners tackling similar issues in widely divergent disciplinary contexts.

This focus on scholarly materials jibes well with our thinking about the opportunity to significantly rethink the approach to peer-review in the academic world, and the application of it to a much broader set of domains.

I asked Josh for Sloan’s perspective. fills a pressing need for web-native mechanisms for peer review. For much of what’s published online, a comment box might not be the most effective mechanism for feedback, and so we’re particularly pleased to support experimentation with more granular, inline annotation for debate, discussion, and the advancement of knowledge.

We’re thrilled to be working with them.

Share this article