Open Access: MIT Press to Expand its ‘Direct to Open’ Model

In News by Porter Anderson

With its ‘Direct to Open’ model now in its second year, MIT Press is opening 82 works this year and is working with 322 libraries.

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, in Cambridge. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Surabhi Surendra

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Sustainable and Scalable’
Continuing our news of research writings being made freely available through open-access initiatives today (August 17), we look at the MIT Press’ “Direct to Open” program’s announcement that it will make 82 monographs and edited collections available this year.

Having been inaugurated in 2022, the results this year mean that the program has 322 participating libraries and new consortium agreements, leading to more than 160 works being made available in those two years’ time. These numbers represent an increase of 33 percent, and an international expansion is very much a part of the growing levels of outcome.

MIT Press has entered into agreements with the Big Ten Academic Alliance—we covered its newly opened collection of works on gender and sexuality on Monday (August 14)—as well as the Konsortium der sächsischen Hochschulbibliotheken; the Council of Australian University Librarians; the Center for Research Libraries; the Greater Western Library Alliance; MOBIUS; Northeast Research Libraries; Jisc; the Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration and Innovation; SCELC; and Lyrasis.

The model, as the company likes to describe it, sees “libraries shift from buying digital monographs from the MIT Press once for a single collection to funding them once for the world” through participant fees. Newly engaged libraries must make a commitment by November 30 this year for participation.

Amy Brand

Amy Brand, MIT Press’ director and publisher, is quoted, saying, “This achievement comes at a pivotal time for open science, research, and publishing and would not be possible without the partnership and collaboration of Direct to Open member libraries and consortia.

“Together, we are proving open access scholarship is not only achievable, but sustainable and scalable.”

An expansion of library participation is hoped for, with engaged libraries not only opening frontlist titles but also receiving participation benefits including term access to a backlist collection of more than 2,400 titles. As more libraries join the program their costs are reduced.

Amy Harris

Amy Harris, the senior manager for library relations and sales, says, “When we launched Direct to Open two years ago, we passionately believed that taking action to foster a more equitable, sustainable, and open scholarly communication ecosystem was vital and urgent.

“Success was not guaranteed and has required dedicated, hard work to achieve this year; but we’ve been truly humbled by the support of all of the participating libraries and our consortia partners.”

Below is the list of the writings opened in 2023, covering a vast range of topics from sexism and racism in contemporary computing cultures (Cracking the Bro Code by Coleen Carrigan) to the impact of natural disasters on wars, insurgencies, and other forms of strife (Catastrophes, Confrontations, and Constraints: How Disasters Shape the Dynamics of Armed Conflicts” by Tobias Ide).

Monographs and Collections Opened in 2023

A promotional video for the Direct to Open program is here:

A programming note: Our presentation of the Publishing Perspectives Forum at Frankfurter Buchmesse this year includes a morning of sessions on Friday, October 20, with Charleston Conference. One key area of focus is titled “Research Integrity: Technology, Trust, and Transparency.” Another is “Sustainability and the Future of Scholarly Communication: Looking Forward at Business Models, SDGs, and Beyond.” The morning includes a networking breakfast.

More information on the Publishing Perspectives Forum this year–October 18 to 20 in Room Spektrum on Level 2 of Messe Frankfurt’s Congress Center–is here.  Admission is free to all trade visitors and exhibitors at Frankfurt Book Fair.

More from Publishing Perspectives on academic and scholarly publishing is here, more on MIT Press is here, and more on open access is here. and more on issues in libraries is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.