D2O Impact Report 2024

Colorful illustration showing statistics about the Direct to Open open access model from MIT Press, including the number of participating libraries (354), the number of eBook downloads (483,000+) the number of years that the program has been offered (3), and the number of books that have been published open access through the program (240).

We’ve been shaking things up at the MIT Press for over 60 years, changing how knowledge flows between academics and the world. Reflecting and amplifying the values of an educational institution that places a premium on experimentation and open knowledge, the MIT Press has been a leader in open access publishing for decades.

We know that open scholarship benefits authors, readers, and the academy at large. Our experience echoes a growing number of studies showing that open access books see exponentially more use and significantly more citations than their paywalled counterparts and tend to be more successful in reaching audiences beyond the academy. This is why we designed and implemented a new solution that would better serve scholars and the research monographs that are vital to our mission.

Direct to Open (D2O) is a game changer. It’s a collective action model built to support the open access publication of scholarly books where neither authors nor readers have to pay. We are using it to move high quality, long-form digital publications from a paywalled purchase model to an open, community supported approach that benefits authors, libraries, and readers. D2O has exceeded expectations in its first three years, and we’re thrilled to share the impact!

Amy Brand, PhD
Director and Publisher
The MIT Press

Great books delivered

Direct to Open allows scores of new books to be published open access immediately upon publication every year

Before the launch of Direct to Open, open access books at the MIT Press were funded primarily on a single title or small subject collection basis. While this allowed us to gradually open more of our books, it did not provide a long-term, sustainable way to open our monographs immediately upon publication or at scale.

In the program’s first three years, D2O has funded 240 books: 159 in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), and 81 in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design, and Mathematics (STEAM). Our data show that open access books are embraced by readers around the world and are making meaningful contributions to debates both within and beyond the academy.

Explore the collection at mitpress.mit.edu/d2o_books.

An illustration graphically depicting the number of titles published in MIT Press Direct to Open: 240 total with 159 in Hunamities and Social Sciences fields and 81 in STEM plus Art and Design fields.

Serving scholars and embracing equity

Colorful illustration outlining author participation in MIT Press's Direct to Open program showing that 339 authors based in 200 institutions in 28 different countries have published open access books via D2O.

Direct to Open books reach larger global audiences and receive more citations than their paywalled counterparts

On average, our open access Humanities and Social Sciences books are used 3.75 times more and receive 21% more citations than their non-open counterparts.

Our open access STEAM books are used 2.67 times more and receive 15% more citations than their non-open counterparts, on average.


A data visualization showing quotation marks in colorful circles forming an upward arrow.

Building research communities

“As a group of early-career researchers interested in urban infrastructures, the Flow/Overflow/Shortage (FOS) Research Collective and its online reading group were literally brought together by the intellectual trajectory that The Infrastructural South follows and advances. The book has informed our debates about how to understand infrastructural problems today and continues to shape our thinking about extreme urban conditions. Our members have different institutional backgrounds at North American, European, and African institutions, or are independent researchers, so the open access version of the book allowed us to discuss it collectively, across geographies and institutional capacities. ”

—FOS (Flow/ Overflow/ Shortage) Research Collective

Supporting students and expanding access

“Open access is very important in my field of anthropology. Our work often speaks to issues that are relevant to non-specialists and open access helps to build bridges to other fields and audiences. The D2O version of my book has enabled me to reach colleagues in anthropology, as well as clinical and social services and community stakeholders who have used the book to inform their understanding of regional housing issues. I firmly believe that the open access option has allowed the book to be much more broadly disseminated and used.”
—Elizabeth Carpenter-Song is Research Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Dartmouth College and author of Families on the Edge: Experiences of Homelessness and Care in Rural New England


“For the Indian market, MIT Press books are prohibitively expensive. Indian book stores are reluctant to stock them and they are also expensive for individual buyers. People are very interested in the book in India, where the book is based, so it’s been blessing to have the open access edition. Several people I met during my talks and at other events in India said they were able to access the book because it was open access.”
—Janaki Srinivasan is Associate Professor at the International Institute of Information Technology, in Bangalore, India and author of The Political Lives of Information: Information and the Production of Development in India

“In my course, I used the software platform Perusall to let students comment and ask questions on our D2O book Model Systems in Biology in an online group setting. This interactive approach made the readings more engaging for the students and allowed me to monitor their comprehension and interests effectively. This approach isn’t possible with high-cost textbooks that my students can’t easily afford. Thus, the D2O option has notably improved the book’s accessibility, benefiting both my teaching and the students’ learning experience. Thank you, MITP.”
—Georg Striedter is Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at the University of California, Irvine and author of Model Systems in Biology: History, Philosophy, and Practical Concerns


“Engineering and geosciences are less ‘booky’ disciplines, but the D2O edition of my book has circulated and bolstered my reach substantially. I wrote about Mexico, and have given one major talk at UNAM and one for a Latin America-based Environmental Humanities group. Given the difficulty of accessing physical books and lower income of scholars based in these regions, open access is key to making the book available in diverse sites in Latin America. I have also received substantial recognition for my book outside of my disciplinary circles, specifically in government agencies including USGS and the Bureau of Reclamation, which is enabled by the open access edition.”
— Elizabeth Reddy is Assistant Professor of Engineering, Design, & Society at the Colorado School of Mines and author of ¡Alerta!: Engineering on Shaky Ground

Allying with libraries

Direct to Open brings the MIT Press and libraries together to achieve equitable, academy-based open access for long-form scholarship at scale

In D2O’s first three years, 12 consortia have partnered with the Press on the program and 354 libraries have participated for at least one year.

Direct to Open gives libraries and consortia worldwide an opportunity to partner with a nonprofit, university-based publisher to achieve open access for books at scale without book processing charges (BPCs) and with real local benefits for supporters.

An illustration of books with Direct to Open statistics on their spine, including the number of libraries that have participated in the program (354) and the number of consortia (12) that have partnered with the Press.
A collage of social media posts (Tweets) from libraries and librarians expressing support for the Direct to Open model and MIT Press

“Our contribution to D2O was less than we usually spend on MIT Press books in STEAM fields and provides much broader access than our usual title-by-title purchases. Our participation in D2O is part of a broader OA strategy in our collections. It contributes to the development of scholar-led, sustainable OA monograph publishing models, while also providing immediate benefits in the form of backfile access.”
—University Libraries, George Mason University

“The D2O model creates an open-knowledge commons by re-shaping the academic publishing ecosystem of university presses and research libraries. It is exactly the opportunity libraries should be supporting.”
 —Greg Eow, President, Center for Research Libraries and member of the MIT Press Management Board


Reaching readers

Readers all over the world benefit from immediate access to cutting-edge research

Top ten countries by downloads
1. USA—140,560 downloads
2. UK—39,883 downloads
3. Germany—32,183 downloads
4. Canada—29,886 downloads
5. Japan—14,957 downloads
6. China—14,809 downloads
7. Italy—13,563 downloads
8. Spain—12,881 downloads
9. Australia—12,235 downloads
10. India—11,972 downloads


6 D2O books have won major awards

The Digital Closet: How the Internet Became Straight
by Alexander Monea
Next Big Idea Club nominee and Winner, Society for the History of Technology Sally Hacker Prize

Sex Dolls at Sea: Imagined Histories of Sexual Technologies
by Bo Ruberg
Winner, Society for Cinema and Media Studies Anne Friedberg Innovative Scholarship Award

Co-Cities: Innovative Transitions toward Just and Self-Sustaining Communities
by Sheila R. Foster and Christian Iaione
Winner, 2023 PROSE Award for Architecture and Urban Planning

The Neurocognitive Theory of Dreaming: The Where, How, When, What, and Why of Dreams
by G. William Domhoff
Winner, 2023 PROSE Award for Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry

Insolvent: How to Reorient Computing for Just Sustainability
by Christoph Becker
Finalist, 2024 PROSE Award for Engineering and Technology

The Power of Partnership in Open Government: Reconsidering Multistakeholder Governance Reform
by Suzanne J. Piotrowski, Daniel Berliner and Alex Ingrams
Winner, American Society for Public Administration SPAR Best Book Award

9 D2O books have surpassed 10,000 downloads


Support open and equitable access

By participating in Direct to Open, libraries shift from buying digital monographs from the MIT Press once for a single collection to funding them once for the world. Together, we can make scholarship more open and accessible. Learn more about joining Direct to Open and our dynamic participation benefits.


Library relations
Amy Harris

Open access leadership
Nick Lindsay

Kathryn DeNitto