Do you have freedom to experiment in ways other publishers don't?
Absolutely. For certain authors, we do have complete free reign. We have the ability to do some really fun stuff. A lot of that comes from having close relationships with all of our authors. We do our research. We have an amazing researcher, Galen Glaze, who creates a document called "the Bible," which provides everything you need to know about the author. It is that level of detail that creates connections with the authors.
Some of them share their deepest secrets. Some of them want to shake it up. One of our children's authors suggested, "Let's go and get a kid's bike and I'll go and ride around while you interview me." It's just fun little things. We always stick to it being truthful and from the author.
Director, MIT Press
Exploring Open Access
Aside from leading the way in delivering enhanced texts and digital academic research, MIT Press is also a strong proponent of open access, the growing movement to provide scholarly works for free and typically shares those papers online. MIT Press, led by director Ellen Faran, published its first OA journal in 2006 and is experimenting with different ways to create viable OA strategies. From freemium models to payment opt-ins, Faran strives to make quality research more widely available to researchers while maintaining her bottom line.
Faran examines the difficulties that come with OA publishing and the strategies she's pursued to make it sustainable. This includes the recently launched web platform educationXpress, which provides OA journals on digital education topics to a community of researchers and professors.
What open access projects is the press currently working on?
We publish two open access journals and a number of individual book titles that are openly available in both print and ebook editions.
Related story: What Can Publishers Learn from Digital Comic Books?