Project MUSE: Celebrating 20 years of sustainability and transformation

photo(68)I received a message at 4:23pm on December 23rd from MUSE financial manager Nicole Kendzejeski about the status of a payment from a Russian consortium. She’d been working on the issue since last summer along with our international sales manager Ann Snoeyenbos and had previously communicated that the necessary paperwork to make the deal go through was not going to happen in 2014. Still, she didn’t throw in the towel.

That’s not what the MUSE staff is made of. Her note confirmed that payment would be booked this year. The amount was not huge, but our book and journal publishers rely and appreciate every dollar from our sales efforts during these challenging times.

As we celebrate our 20th year in 2015, we have nothing but results like these to show for our efforts.

On January 1st, MUSE will have launched more than one million units of content (journal articles and book chapters) for the first time. More than 35,000 books will be on the platform and 635 journals. Usage continues to grow.

A new hosting program has been introduced for journal publishers by our content acquisitions department. A place for publishers to experiment with new ways to engage their communities, MUSE Commons launched in April. The first two volumes of The Complete Prose of T.S. Eliot published on Project MUSE in July—including many of Eliot’s works that have never been accessible in any form.

The history of Project MUSE is rife with innovation and outstanding results. The journals of the Johns Hopkins University Press first appeared on the MUSE platform in 1995. Journals from ten publishers–mostly university presses — launched in 2000. In 2006, the MUSE sales and marketing group devised one of the first tier-based electronic journal pricing models completely decoupled from historical print spend. MUSE technology and production introduced one of the first journal XML workflows in 2007. In 2012, MUSE launched one of the first integrated eBook and e-journal platforms in the humanities and social sciences. In 2014, the content acquisition team brought in content from more than 200 publishers.

MUSE has balanced the interests of publishers and libraries for two decades. Not-for-profit scholarly publishers have received in excess of $120 million in royalties from Project MUSE. These monies allow publishers to acquire and produce books and journals. Academic libraries have received savings off subscription list prices—in excess of $100 million since 2000. Developing strong relationships with libraries is a core value.

Sustainable and transformative–yes, that’s who we are.  We’re also transparent, customer-focused and reliable. We don’t like to talk about it. It’s much more fun to deliver.

As I write this MUSE has never been stronger or more prepared to meet the challenges of the future.Today, the staff are testing the viability of receiving ONIX3 feeds from publishers.

We don’t spend enough time reflecting on the great things we have done for the scholarly publishing community. That’s not who we are. We’re too busy working for you.

Have a great new year,

Dean Smith
Director, Project MUSE

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