Open Letter on Net Neutrality

This letter was originally posted on the Association for Computers and the Humanities’ (ACH) website: The ACH has also posted a list of links and resources on net neutrality, including what you can do:

29 April 2014

Dear FCC Chairman Wheeler;

We write as leaders of 25 major professional societies, boards, committees, and publications, representing a broad and international community of scholars and students, information professionals, artists, and technologists working in the digital humanities, digital media, and aligned fields.

On behalf of the communities we serve, we urgently ask that you lead the FCC in protecting the fundamental character of the open, nondiscriminatory, creative, and competitive Internet. To do this, the FCC must reclassify broadband service as “common carrier” telecommunications in the United States.

Joining in this appeal are the presidents, chairs, founders, and organizers of:

and the editors and founders of the following pioneering journals and digital publication platforms:

Individual members of our organizations — researchers, teachers, students, artists, and technology and information professionals — have lobbied tirelessly for net neutrality protections over the past many years. We write you now on their behalf, as a united alliance of academic leaders.

The scholarly and technical community our organizations represents is a global one, and the world is watching. The United States must follow suit with peers in Europe, Asia, South America, the Middle East, and elsewhere, to protect the openness and fairness of Internet communication.

True net neutrality:

  • stimulates competition, creativity, and innovation;
  • protects the freedom of speech;
  • and promotes equal and non-discriminatory access to information.

Please fulfill your responsibility to the public and make it possible for the FCC to assert strong network neutrality regulations, by announcing on May 15th that you will reclassify Internet broadband providers as common carriers.


Dr. Bethany Nowviskie
Director of Digital Research & Scholarship, University of Virginia Library
Special Advisor to the UVa Provost and CLIR Distinguished Presidential Fellow
Chair, MLA Committee on Information Technology
President of the Association for Computers & the Humanities

Paul Arthur
Dr R. Marika Visiting Chair of Australian Studies
University of Cologne, Germany
Professor of Digital Humanities, The University of Western Sydney
President of the Australasian Association for Digital Humanities

Cheryl Ball
Fulbright Scholar, Oslo School of Architecture and Design
Associate Professor of New Media Studies, Illinois State University
Editor, Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy

Susan Brown
Professor of English, University of Guelph and University of Alberta
President (English), Canadian Society for Digital Humanities/Société canadienne des humanités numériques
Project Leader, Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory

Cathy N. Davidson
John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies
Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English
Co-Director, PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge
Co-Founder, HASTAC

Dr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Director of Scholarly Communication, Modern Language Association
Co-founder and Editor, MediaCommons

Neil Fraistat
Professor of English & Director
Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)
Chair, Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO)
Co-Chair, centerNet

Rachel L. Frick
Director, Digital Library Federation
Council on Library and Information Resources

David Theo Goldberg
Professor, Comparative Literature
Director, UC Humanities Research Institute
University of California Irvine
Co-Founder, HASTAC

Dene Grigar
Director and Associate Professor
DTC@Creative Media and Digital Culture
Washington State University Vancouver
President, Electronic Literature Organization

Christine Henseler

Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies
Chair, Department of Modern Languages & Literatures
Union College
Co-leader, 4Humanities

Alan Liu
Professor, Department of English
University of California Santa Barbara
Co-leader, 4 Humanities

Laura Mandell

Director of the Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture
Professor of English
Texas A&M University
Director of ARC (Advanced Research Consortium)
Director of

Prof. Dr. Jan Christoph Meister
Institut für Germanistik
Universität Hamburg
Chair, EADH: the European Association for Digital Humanities

Jerome J. McGann
John Stewart Bryan University Professor, University of Virginia
Adjunct Research Professor, University of California, Berkeley
Founding Director, NINES: the Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship

John Nerbonne
Professor of Computational Linguistics
Head of Humanities Computing Department
Director, Center for Language and Cognition
University of Groningen
President, EADH: the European Association for Digital Humanities

Daniel Paul O’Donnell
Professor of English, University of Lethbridge
Founding Chair, Global Outlook::Digital Humanities
Editor-in-Chief, Digital Studies/Le champ numérique

Dot Porter
Curator, Digital Research Services
University of Pennsylvania Libraries
Co-director, MESA: Medieval Electronic Scholarly Alliance

Dr. Lisa M. Rhody
Co-editor, Journal of Digital Humanities
Research Assistant Professor, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media
George Mason University

Geoffrey Rockwell
Professor, Department of Philosophy
University of Alberta
Co-leader, 4Humanities

Dr. Masahiro Shimoda
Professor and Director, Digital Humanities Initiative, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology
The University of Tokyo
President, Japanese Association for Digital Humanities

Michael E. Sinatra
Associate Professor, Département d’études anglaises, Université de Montréal
Founding Editor, Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net
President (French), Canadian Society for Digital Humanities/Société canadienne des humanités numériques

Prof. Stéfan Sinclair
Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures, McGill University
Director of the McGill Centre for Digital Humanities
Co-leader, 4Humanities

Andrew Stauffer
Associate Professor of English
University of Virginia
Director, NINES: the Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship

Timothy L. Stinson
Assistant Professor
Department of English
North Carolina State University
Co-director, MESA: Medieval Electronic Scholarly Alliance

Prof. Melissa M. Terras
Director, UCL Centre for Digital Humanities
Professor of Digital Humanities, UCL Department of Information Studies
University College London
Co-leader, 4Humanities
General Editor, Digital Humanities Quarterly

Lindsay Thomas
4Humanities Lead Research Assistant
Ph.D. candidate, English Department
University of California, Santa Barbara

Dr. Joan Fragaszy Troyano
Co-editor, Journal of Digital Humanities
Research Assistant Professor, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media
George Mason University

Edward Vanhoutte
Research Associate of the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities
Editor-in-Chief, LLC. The Journal of Digital Scholarship in the Humanities

Katherine L. Walter
Co-Director, Center for Digital Research in the Humanities
Professor and Chair, Digital Initiatives & Special Collections
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Co-Chair, centerNet


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