Governance Protocol of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO)


September 07, 2021: This protocol is currently being revised to reflect the new governance structure.

ADHO is an umbrella organization whose constituent organizations are, at present, the European Association for Digital Humanities (EADH), the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH), the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities / Société canadienne des humanités numériques (CSDH/SCHN), centerNet, the Australasian Association for Digital Humanities (aaDH), the Japanese Association for Digital Humanities (JADH), Humanistica, L'association francophone des humanités numériques/digitales (Humanistica), Digital Humanities Association of Southern Africa (DHASA), the Taiwanese Association for Digital Humanities (TADH), and Red de Humanidades Digitales (RedHD).


  1. Governing Rules
    1. This protocol is intended to guide the startup of the Alliance: they are not intended to replace the existing bylaws of any of the constituent organizations represented by the Alliance. In the event of a conflict between this protocol and the bylaws of a constituent organization, the conflict will be resolved by the executive board of the constituent organization in consultation with the Steering Committee of the Alliance.
    2. Major changes to this protocol (and eventually, to the ADHO bylaws) or to the agreed ADHO joint activities need to be approved by the boards of constituent organizations.
    3. In the event that any constituent organization wants to leave ADHO, the departing organization will receive a goodwill payment from ADHO equivalent to 10% of the total cumulative income paid to that organization during the entire period of its membership in ADHO, payable over not more than three years.


  2. Governance
    1. Responsibilities: The ADHO Steering Committee will be responsible for:
      1. managing ADHO activities, including publication operations and conferences, in compliance with its constitution and bylaws, and in the best interest of all constituent organizations of ADHO:
      2. overseeing the distribution of the shared income to ADHO constituent organizations, in compliance with the charter of the Committee, and in the best interests of ADHO constituent organizations;
      3. consulting with the executive committees, councils, or boards of constituent organizations on important strategic planning issues;
      4. presenting the executive committees, councils, or boards of constituent organizations with resolutions for approval.
    2. The responsibilities delegated to ADHO by the constituent organizations will be managed by a Steering Committee. Officers of the Committee:
      1. Chair : one of the voting members, appointed annually by the voting members. Duties: chairs meetings, co-ordinates activities. A non-voting member should chair the start of the meeting at which the Steering Committee Chair is appointed, then cede the chairing of the meeting to the newly appointed Chair.
      2. Secretary : one of the voting members, appointed by the voting members. Duties: keeps minutes, prepares agenda with the Chair, substitutes for the Chair as necessary
      3. Treasurer : not a voting member, elected by the voting members. Manages the funds allocated to ADHO by the boards of the constituent organizations. The treasurer will be a member of all the constituent organizations, paid by ADHO.
      4. Chair of Publications Committee: not necessarily selected from the voting members, but appointed by the voting members.
      5. Editors of the journals: non-voting members.
      6. Editor of Humanist; a non-voting member
      7. Chair of the Conference Co-ordination Committee: not necessarily selected from the voting members, but appointed by the voting members.
    3. Sub-Committees:
      1. Conference Co-ordination Committee: Constitution and membership as defined in the Conference Protocol.
      2. Publications Committee: Chair to be appointed by voting members of the ADHO Steering Committee. Other members to be appointed by a constituent organisation, one representative from each organisation, plus the editors of the journals and Humanist
      3. Multilingualism and Multiculturalism Committee: Chair to be appointed by voting members of the ADHO Steering Committee. Other members to be appointed by a constituent organization, one representative from each organization.
    4. Representation: Proportional representation is the principle that governs appointment to the ADHO Steering Committee, and proportionality is based on the income each chapter accounts for, in the total income to ADHO, including individual and institutional subscriptions. In the abstract, the amount of income required per seat on the Steering Committee is arrived at by dividing the total annual income by the number of Steering Committee members desired (we choose to begin with 5; the number can be changed in the future, with the consent of constituent organizations). Any member organization that accounts for a fraction of one unit shall be considered to account for one unit. Representation will be reviewed annually, according to this formula. The distribution of membership of the ADHO steering committee should be reviewed and, if necessary, adjusted annually
    5. Classes of Members: The Steering Committee will include "voting members" and "non-voting members." All members of the Steering Committee should be members of one (or more) of the constituent organizations. All terms are for a maximum of three years (depending on the formula for representation), and all terms are renewable.
    6. Appointments: Voting members of the ADHO Steering Committee are appointed at the pleasure of the executive committee or council of the organizations they represent. They do not need to be members of those executive bodies in order to serve. Organizations with more than one representative should stagger appointments to ensure some continuity in representation: at the outset, this can be accomplished by appointing some members to (renewable) terms of less than three years. Non-voting members are appointed at the pleasure of the voting members of the Steering Committee.
    7. Voting: Votes by the Steering Committee may be called by any voting member, but will normally be called by the chair. Under normal circumstances, no vote will be called without at least a week for online discussion and a further week for the actual vote. A simple majority of the voting members of the Steering Committee will be required to decide a voting issue. Voting is one of the most important responsibilities of Steering Committee members, and the chair may ask a constituent organization to replace a member who consistently fails to vote. Votes may be registered by email.Additional subscriptions by officers to other ADHO organisations (above payments to organisations like ALLC) will be paid by ADHO.


  3. Nature and selection of ADHO constituents:
    1. ADHO is an association of Constituent Organizations.
    2. New Constituent Organizations will be admitted by unanimous vote of the ADHO Steering Committee.
    3. ADHO Constituent Organizations are focused on digital scholarship in the humanities.
    4. ADHO Constituent Organizations my be based on individual membership or on appropriately defined institutional membership.
    5. ADHO Constituent Organizations may include Associate Organizations, whose members are indirectly affiliated with ADHO via the Associate Organization's parent Constituent Organization.
    6. Special Interest Groups (SIGs) may be affiliated either with ADHO or with a particular Constituent Organization, as appropriate and as negotiated at the time of each SIG's approval.
    7. Affiliated organizations and activities may be designated on terms to be agreed by the Steering Committee.


  4. Finances
    1. It is anticipated that the principal source of income for ADHO will be from subscriptions to and profits from the common publication activities. Other income sources may be sought by the ADHO Steering Committee.
    2. A proportion of the income arising from the print journal will be assigned to support an agreed programme of centrally managed activities - as agreed by the boards of the constituent organisations. Initially it is anticipated that two key activities will be supported in this way:
      1. the Editor of the print journal, in respect of admin costs
      2. the development and operation of an electronic journal
    3. Any centrally managed activities will be costed before expenditures are agreed.
    4. The balance will be distributed to the constituent organisations on the basis of subscription value.
    5. The proportion of central activity costs contributed by each constituent association, and the proportion of the final balance distributed to each, is based on a process of assessment of the income received by ADHO.
    6. The assessment is made on the following basis:
      1. The total income from individual subscriptions is attributed equally between the individual-member associations;
      2. The income from the institutional subscriptions of members of an institutional-member association is attributed to that association;
      3. Income from certain other institutional subscriptions is attributed to the individual-member associations on a geographical basis, where the institutions are based in designated geographical areas as agreed by the ADHO Steering Committee and these associations;
      4. Any additional income, including all other income from institutional subscriptions, is shared equally among all constituent associations;
      5. The final assessed totals are used to establish the proportion of income attributed to each constituent association.
      6. These proportions are used to determine not only the shares of central expenditure and disbursements, as indicated above, but also the membership entitlement of each constituent organization on the ADHO Steering Committee. (See xx.xx above)
    7. Deficits and surpluses arising from these activities will be assigned on the income sharing principles specified in IV.4.


  5. Membership
    1. Individual membership of ADHO is via membership of a constituent organisation, normally by individual subscription to the ADHO print journal, or by payment of "membership only" dues not including a print subscription. Similarly, in the case of institutional-member associations, membership of ADHO is via membership of the constituent organisation by institutional subscription to the ADHO print journal.
    2. The subscription form for the print journal, or the membership-only registration form, for individuals will include a tick-box for each constituent organisation. A ticked box will be taken as expressing the wish to join that organisation. A modest additional fee, as determined by the Steering Committee, will be levied for each 'additional' membership requested, after the first one. The income from the multiple memberships will be shared equally among the organizations chosen.
    3. Membership of an individual-member constituent organisation will admit the individual to voting rights and other benefits in that organisation. Membership of any one constituent organisation will entitle the individual to all ADHO member benefits, e.g. discounted rate for conference fees.
    4. Other 'additional' memberships will be subject to the same 'modest additional fee', e.g. a second member at the same address.
    5. In all cases of 'additional memberships' registered by way of print subscription, a single copy of the print journal will be sent.
    6. Membership of an institutional-member constituent organisation will entitle the member institution to the voting rights and other benefits according to the rules of that organisation. Such membership will entitle a nominated individual from the institution, normally the Director or equivalent, to ADHO individual member benefits, such as a discounted rate for conference fees.
    7. Individuals may alternatively choose to be "ADHO+ Supporters," who are not members of any constituent organization (and thus cannot vote or stand for election) and do not receive the print journal, but are entitled to other ADHO member benefits, e.g., discounted rate for conference fees.



  • Approved July 4, 2006 by the ADHO Steering Committee and recommended for final approval by the ACH and ALLC executives; approved by the ACH and ALLC executives July 5, 2006.
  • Revisions (proposed by Harold upon admission of centerNet) approved by ADHO SC June 16, 2011.
  • Revisions occasioned by passage of first set of Governance reforms approved by SC on December 15, 2014 and March 8, 2015, and updated to reflect all six 2015 Constituent Organizations; version of June 2015.