By Project MUSE

More searchable and discoverable than PDFs, the improved new format represents the “next chapter” in OA publishing in the humanities and social sciences

Nearly 300 open access (OA) books are now available from Project MUSE, the highly-acclaimed online collection of humanities and social science scholarship, on a newly designed platform that represents a major step forward in OA publishing in these fields. The books will be delivered in a highly-discoverable and adaptable format using user-friendly HTML5, rather than static PDFs, and will include titles from Johns Hopkins University Press, Cornell University Press, Duke University Press, University of Hawai'i Press, University of Michigan Press, Syracuse University Press, The MIT Press, and Temple University Press. "This really represents the next chapter in OA publishing for MUSE and our university press collaborators," said Wendy Queen, Director of Project MUSE, "and we’re thrilled to have so many important works available open access on MUSE in such a flexible, useful format. Thanks to the 'MUSE Open' grant from the Mellon Foundation these titles are now available on a much improved MUSE platform and available for free to readers worldwide."

The new "HTML5 OA" titles greatly enhance a collection of almost 600 OA books in PDF format that were already available on MUSE, bringing the total of OA books to over 800. MUSE plans to add more HTML5 OA books each year. The initiative was made possible by a two-year grant of nearly $1 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which concluded this summer. Funds were used to develop an open source workflow for transforming epub files into HTML5 and, most importantly for users, launch a scholar-informed redesign of the Project MUSE interface that emphasizes simplicity, accessibility, and personalization. The redesigned platform includes robust support for discovery and linking, along with preservation with trusted third parties, assuring wide dissemination of OA book content on MUSE. The platform's enhanced analytics services will help publishers understand the impact of making books freely available.

"Books that are open to the world have the power to transform the discovery of new knowledge and impact evidence-based decisions and the ways in which people learn," said Barbara Kline Pope, Director of the Johns Hopkins University Press. "Supported by the generous grant from the Mellon Foundation, the innovations implemented on the Project MUSE platform are just the first step in facilitating breakthrough knowledge acquisition."

"When making a Temple University Press book available in open access, our primary goal is that it be discovered and used by as many people as possible – and partnering with MUSE ensures we achieve this," said Mary Rose Muccie, Director, Temple University Press. "MUSE's reputation and global reach, as well as the discoverability features within the MUSE platform, will bring these titles to the attention of scholars, students, and the general public worldwide. We're especially excited to have the historically significant, and formerly out of print, labor studies books funded by our NEH Humanities Open Book Program grant available on MUSE, where they can inform new scholarship in the field."

Project MUSE anticipates hosting hundreds more OA scholarly books, funded through initiatives including the NEH Humanities Open Book program, Knowledge Unlatched, TOME, Mellon grants, and other publisher- and institution-driven programs. Open access content on MUSE is fully integrated and supported alongside the more than 54,000 books and over 650 scholarly journal titles also on the platform. MUSE welcomes inquiries from publishers and other content creators with scholarship they wish to make freely available, with wide reach and rich options for discovery, linking, and transformative impact.