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Subscribe to Open (S2O) Program for Project MUSE Journals

Subscribe to Open (S2O) is an equitable open access model for scholarly journals that enables subscription journals to open access to their current content without Article Processing Charges (APCs). The Project MUSE S2O program is built around our current journal collections model, and will launch with the calendar year 2025 subscription term. With more than 800 current journals in the humanities and social sciences on its platform, from close to 200 nonprofit publishers, MUSE is uniquely positioned to develop and deploy an S2O program at scale for a significant number of its journals. Through the support of MUSE’s vast community of publishers and libraries worldwide, the S2O program will open a wealth of vital scholarship in disciplines not well served by other open access (OA) models.

The MUSE S2O Program makes open access to the current year’s content of participating journals contingent on the continued support of MUSE subscribers. Each year, MUSE will set the minimum sustainability threshold required to fund the participating S2O journals that year. If the sustainability threshold is reached, the current year’s content will be opened to all readers. If the threshold is not reached, that year’s content will remain gated. Additionally, subscribers will continue to enjoy access to MUSE’s deep backfile content. Nearly 200 journals have complete runs – from volume 1, issue 1 – available on the MUSE platform, and many journals in the MUSE collections have several decades of back volumes.

The MUSE S2O Program builds upon the foundation of MUSE’s existing journal collections model that has been a valued platform for nonprofit university press and society publishers and a trusted resource in university libraries for nearly 30 years. The model provides a low-risk path to increasing access to a journal’s content that benefits both libraries and publishers in many ways: 

    • Makes high-quality humanities research from nonprofit publishers widely available to readers without barriers to access
    • Ensures that subscribing libraries maintain uninterrupted access to both current scholarship and archival backfile content
    • Costs no more than a library’s current conventional subscription
    • Allows journals to publish an entire year’s output of articles open access without requiring authors to pay APCs
    • Provides a stable and guaranteed royalty structure to support nonprofit journals and maintain the quality and integrity of their publications while making the transition to open

Supporters of MUSE understand the enormous value of humanities scholarship both in academic studies and in public spheres: shaping our understanding of the world and our place within it. Our community believes that humanities content from nonprofit publishers does not belong behind a paywall. This shift to open needs a unified approach to embark on a path to make this a reality. The success of the MUSE S2O Program relies on the collective support and collaboration of various stakeholders, including researchers, institutions, libraries, funders, and publishers. By participating in the movement towards more open access and financially backing this important scholarship, we are all contributing to a more inclusive and equitable scholarly ecosystem.

We look forward to speaking with you about how your journal or library can be a part of the MUSE S2O Program.

Contact Us About S2O

Download MUSE S2O Brochure (PDF)


Frequently Asked Questions

S2O Subscriptions for Libraries

How do libraries participate in the MUSE S2O program?
Can libraries still subscribe to Project MUSE through their consortium or preferred subscription agent?
Will Project MUSE offer new or different Journal Collections?
Will pricing for Project MUSE Journal Collections change with S2O?
Will the license terms for gated content on MUSE change?
What prevents a subscriber from waiting to see whether the content will be opened?
What happens if a library cancels its subscription?
When will details on the S2O program be available to subscribing libraries?
We don’t currently subscribe to MUSE - how can we participate in S2O?

Journal Participation in MUSE S2O

Which journals are participating in the S2O program on MUSE?
What journals are eligible to participate in MUSE’s S2O program?
Must a publisher include all of its journals in the S2O program to participate?
Will back issues of S2O journals eventually become OA on MUSE?
Will S2O participation affect the value of a journal as a benefit of society membership?
How can a publisher explain the benefits of S2O participation to journal stakeholders?
Is Subscribe to Open compatible with page charges?
Must a journal that participates in the S2O offer be Open Access on other distribution platforms?
Will more titles be added to the MUSE S2O program over time?
What about journals in the Project MUSE hosting program – can they participate in S2O?

Subscription Revenue, Sustainability Threshold, and S2O Program Success

What is the “sustainability threshold”?
How are the annual revenue target and the sustainability threshold determined?
What happens if subscription revenue does not achieve the S2O sustainability threshold in any given year?
When will we know whether the S2O program has succeeded?

Publisher Royalties Under the S2O Program

How will royalties for the S2O journals be calculated?
What is the MUSE S2O Royalty Guarantee?
Will MUSE help publishers make up income lost from individual-title subscription income from other sources?

Content Published Under S2O

When will an author know whether their article will be open under S2O?
What license applies to the content opened by S2O?
Will COUNTER-compliant usage reports be available for library subscribers?
How will MUSE ensure discovery of content opened by S2O?
How will content opened by S2O be preserved long term?
What happens to OA content if the S2O program does not succeed for future subscription terms?

More About S2O

Does S2O provide equitable access?
Is S2O a subscription payment or an Open Access payment?
Is library participation in the MUSE S2O program a donation?
Does S2O require institutions to act collectively?

Project MUSE S2O News Archive

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