Guest post by Dean J. Smith
Welcome to University Press Week. We at Project MUSE honor the 93 university presses who enable us to distribute their digital book and journal content on our platform.
Project MUSE will celebrate 20 years of hosting content in 2015. This effort would not have been possible without the support of university presses. In fact, a press director and a librarian put their heads together and came up with Project MUSE to assist journal publishers in bringing their content online against the backdrop of the growing crisis in serials publishing in the early 1990s—imagine that. We didn’t solve the crisis, but we found a way to help publishers.
We work with 200 not-for-profit publishers on a daily basis to resolve workflow issues, provide advice, talk strategy, analyze usage, provide royalty estimates, and explore innovative ideas for the future such as evidenced- based acquisition (a form of demand-driven acquisition), article-by-article publishing, and the next generation of analytical tools.
We are especially thankful for the support we receive from the Johns Hopkins University Press (JHUP).
Since 1995, JHUP Journals have served as the foundation of our platform—more than 75 high-quality, highly used titles in the humanities and social sciences including the Journal of Democracy, Postmodern Culture, Modernism/modernity, the Journal of Women’s History, Shakespeare Quarterly, and Callaloo.
Project MUSE features more than 700 book titles from JHUP. In January of 2013, the book division came together and produced a book in three weeks, Reducing Gun Violence in America, to help advance the national discussion of gun control laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook incident. This book is consistently ranked among the most downloaded eBook titles on Project MUSE.
This past July, The Complete Prose of T.S. Eliot (vols. 1 & 2), including many works never before published, launched on Project MUSE. Volume 1: The Apprentice Years (1905–1918) is currently ranked in the top 40 of all content most frequently downloaded on the platform which includes 330,000 journal articles from 635 publications and 648,000 chapters from 30,000 eBooks.
With books, journals, and print distribution in the form of Hopkins Fulfillment Services (HFS) right here in Charles Village, there is a wealth of invaluable industry knowledge in the minds of our colleagues a short walk or phone call away. Collaboration is a key component to the success of Project MUSE and something that differentiates us from the competition.
Sustaining university presses through the distribution of royalty payments is critical to our mission. We pass back 70-80% of all revenues to publishers—funds that help presses continue to publish books and journals. These are mostly small operations that publish in the humanities and social sciences—disciplines that enable students and scholars alike to make sense of the world around them. We have expanded the global reach of this content to 80 countries and 2,600 institutions.
The Johns Hopkins University Press may be the oldest continuously publishing press in the nation, but it is also one of the most diverse and innovative. It is an honor to be a part of this distinguished cultural treasure.
As with any organization, the talented and dedicated people who work here make it special.
Dean Smith has been director of Project MUSE since 2010. His poetry has appeared in Poetry East, Open City, Beltway, The Pearl, The Charlotte Review, Gulf Stream, and upstreet among other journals. His book of poems, American Boy, won the 2000 Washington Writer’s Prize and was also awarded the 2001 Maryland Prize for Literature. He is the author of Never Easy, Never Pretty: A Fan, A City, A Championship Season and the coauthor, with Ted Patterson, of the second edition of Football in Baltimore: History and Memorabilia from Colts to Ravens. He covers the Baltimore Ravens and the Orioles for the Baltimore Brew, and his sportswriting has appeared in Press Box, Fan Magazine, Baltimore City Paper, Patch.com, and the Midnight Mind Review.
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