Crowdfunding for the Humanities and Social Sciences

some notes.

Twitter account (currently inactive):  @humfund

“How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Crowdfunding”
February 26, 2013
Dan Royles, PhD candidate in history at Temple University.

droyles [at]

“On crowd funding Open Access scholarly books”
August 3, 2011
Janneke Adema
PhD in Media and Communication at Coventry University.


Microryza’s model, while starting in science, might be extended into other research funding areas like humanities & social sciences (HSS). There’s actually unique opportunity and urgency there, I’d suggest, because HSS funding is so in crisis (e.g. in UK over push to Open Access), and dollar amounts small by science standards can be transformative.

Some current pain points which are obviously calling out for new funding approaches now are:

  • Article Processing Charges for HSS scholars to publish by Open Access channels, either by preference, or soon by mandate under 2014 UK govt guidelines.
  • Grants for research & publishing of scholarly monographs. (make-or-break for careers, in HSS, and in major funding crisis).
  • Early-researcher grants, events, and other activities traditionally funded by scholarly societies in part with journal recenues. The threat to these activities’ funding is a primary point of opposition to HSS Open Access in the UK.

On a whole other angle, I meet the founders of Microryza, the leading science-research crowdfunding site and currently in the Y Combinator startup program locally. I suggested to them the idea of using Microryza to crowdfund APCs and monograph fees for humanities/social-science Open Access publication, and they were quite interested.

Microryza is developing new ways to showcase project topics, guide and incent potential donors, and offer “behind the scenes” info ¬†about research projects, which they say seems to be an effective reward to donors. You could view this as a type of public/open writing or open peer review, perhaps, or a related take on it.