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MIT Receives Grant to Conduct an Environmental Scan of Open Source Publishing

The MIT Press is pleased to announce the award of a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to conduct a landscape analysis and code audit of all known open source (OS) authoring and publishing platforms. By conducting this environmental scan, the MIT Press will be providing a comprehensive and critical analysis of OS book production and hosting systems to the scholarly publishing community.

As noted by Amy Brand, Director of the MIT Press, “Open source book production and publishing platforms are a key strategic issue for not-for-profit scholarly publishers, and the wide-spread utilization of these systems would foster greater institutional and organizational self-determination. The MIT Press has long been a leader in digital publishing. We are very grateful for the generous support from The Mellon Foundation for this project.”

The grant affords the MIT Press the unique opportunity to provide the university press community and other not-for-profit scholarly publishers with a comprehensive overview of the numerous OS publishing platforms that are currently in use or under development. These systems, which produce and host platforms for scholarly books and journals, have proliferated in the last decade. The forthcoming analysis will highlight the availability, affordances, and current limitations of these systems, and thereby encourage the adoption and continued development of OS publishing technologies. Open infrastructure could prove to be a durable alternative to complex and costly proprietary services.

The results of the environmental scan and the accompanying code audit, expected later this year, will be made openly accessible. The final report will inform the MIT Press’s roadmap for the publishing platform PubPub currently being codeveloped with the MIT Media Lab.