Direct to Open

MIT Press Direct to Open books accessed more than 176,312 times in ten months

Over 265 libraries have supported the open access publication of 80 scholarly monographs and edited collections for worldwide access in 2022

In 2021, the MIT Press launched Direct to Open (D2O), a bold, innovative model for open access (OA) to scholarship and knowledge. To date, about 50 of the 80 scholarly monographs and edited collections in the Direct to Open model in 2022 have been published and these works have been accessed over 176,000 times. 

Since its launch, over 265 institutions have signed on to participate in the D2O initiative. Early major support came from the MIT Libraries and the 15 member libraries of the Big Ten Academic Alliance. Participating institutions span the globe and include Duke University Libraries, Rocky Mountain College, KU Leuven, EPFL Switzerland, Johns Hopkins University Libraries, University of Manchester, University of Toronto Libraries, Massey University Library, Southern Cross University and hundreds more.

Active Inference: The Free Energy Principle in Mind Brain and Behavior by Thomas Parr, Giovanni Pezzulo, and Karl J. Friston.

The MIT Press has also seen an increase in the readership of scholarly monographs and edited collections. While a typical printed scholarly monograph might sell only a few hundred copies total, chapters from the open access version of these titles have already been downloaded up to 25,000 times. New publications with the greatest number of chapter downloads include Active Inference: The Free Energy Principle in Mind Brain and Behavior by Thomas Parr, Giovanni Pezzulo, and Karl J. Friston; Computational Thinking Education in K–12: Artificial Intelligence Literacy and Physical Computing edited by Siu-Cheung Kong and Harold Abelson; The Art of Abduction by Igor Douven; Cognitive Robotics edited by Angelo Cangelosi and Minoru Asada; and Memories of a Theoretical Physicist: A Journey across the Landscape of Strings Black Holes and the Multiverse by Joseph Polchinski. 

“Core to the MIT Press’s mission is creating new opportunities to push the boundaries of scholarly publishing to advance knowledge in science, technology, and the arts,” says Amy Brand, director and publisher of the MIT Press. “D2O is a leading light in open access publishing and we are thrilled to see its impact and reach so far.”

D2O harnesses the collective power of libraries to open new MIT Press scholarly monographs and edited collections from 2022 via recurring participation fees. Developed over two years with the generous support of the Arcadia Fund, in close collaboration with the library community, the model opens access to new MIT Press scholarly titles, provides participating libraries with term access to blacklist books, and covers partial direct costs for the publication of high-quality works that are also available for print purchase.

The design and implementation of D2O is part of a larger movement in the university press community to strengthen the open access publishing landscape. Curtis Brundy, associate university librarian for scholarly communications and collections at Iowa State University and member of the MIT Press library advisory board explains: “The MIT Press is leading the way with this model, putting a marker in the ground and leaving breadcrumbs behind so other presses can follow. It’s exactly what we want to see. So this couldn’t be any more exciting for us.” 

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Kate Silverman Wilson
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The MIT Press

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