Tag Archives: UPCC

UPCC Breaks Even in its First Fiscal Year

I am pleased to announce that the University Press Content Consortium (UPCC) has broken even in its first full fiscal year.  This is a tremendous accomplishment by the MUSE staff, our publishers and the more than 160 libraries that have purchased collections and single titles.16b_marliegregdonna3

            The program has only been in existence for 18 months and we continue to learn a great deal about the evolving landscape of eBooks.  We have generated more than $8 million in library sales since January of 2012 with 70% of revenues going to our publishers.

            An emerging trend this year has been the preference for current year or 2013 eBook content from our libraries. Sales of collections have been heavily weighted towards 2013 titles this year.

One reason for this is the emergence of customer loyalty.  Many of the “early adopter” libraries purchasing collections in 2012 have returned to expand their corpus of UPCC content. Libraries have also expressed to us that they had already purchased older titles in print.

UPCC Publishers will receive smaller payments in the first six months of 2013 as a result of this buying pattern. With 68% of sales focused on current year content, the payments reflect only a fraction of revenues for already published titles and zero revenues for books scheduled to appear later in the year.  Year-end payments will recognize the full amount of revenues and are expected to be more substantial.

Usage continues to grow as more institutions purchase collections. Downloads in the first five months of 2013 have surpassed all of the usage in 2012.

                 In 2014, for the first time we will include titles from the University of California Press, the University of Minnesota Press, the University of Missouri Press, Cornell University Press and several others.

“The UPCC community is now 95 strong and we expect this pathfinding initiative to flourish in the years ahead,” commented Terry Ehling, associate director for content acquisitions and publisher relations.

            We continue to monitor the results of our single title program through YBP and are exploring models for Patron Driven Acquisition. We are also thankful for our relationship with the Johns Hopkins University Press.  Our colleagues at the Press have provided excellent systems support, market knowledge and guidance as this aspect of our business continues to expand and present exciting opportunities.

Thanks for reading,

Dean Smith


MUSE in the Age of Discovery: Launch Update

As the ball dropped on Times Square, more than 12,000 eBooks from 66 publishers appeared on a revamped and revitalized Project MUSE. Embracing a lean development cycle of 250 days, the MUSE staff delivered one of the first integrated multi-publisher platforms in the history of scholarly publishing.

We focused our efforts on providing 500,000 discoverable journal articles and book chapters to our readership with a basic set of features and functionality at launch and are rolling out new enhancements as each day passes. More than 60 libraries have purchased eBook collections from the 47 available options since October.

The feedback from our user community has been invaluable as we continue to iterate and develop in rapid fashion post-launch. We are committed to excellence in the search and discovery of content on the platform and we will aggressively pursue that goal. The issues related to search are being worked on around the clock.

Developing an integrated  content neutral platform that assigns equal weight to the browse and discovery of books and journals informed many of our decisions. We are now focusing our attention on the 500 journal communities, many developed over the last 15 years, to ensure a seamless transition to the new platform.

Please be patient as we work through unanticipated “bugs” that have arisen but are standard with migrations of this size and scope. Rest assured that the passion of the MUSE staff for addressing the needs of our community matches the strong feelings expressed by our most experienced and dedicated librarians, researchers, journal editors, authors, reviewers and publishers. We have one thing in common: a love for Project MUSE.

The conversation that started between a publisher and a librarian about the ways a press and a library could work together to solve the crisis in scholarly publishing entered its 19th year with an explosion of content and continues to be a work-in-progress. A vision of the future presented itself in those early morning hours as I scrolled through books on the blues from The University Press of Mississippi, baseball books from Nebraska, film studies texts from Indiana, gender studies from Rutgers, and literary criticism from Georgia.  The University Press Content Consortium has changed the game.

I thought of William Butler Yeats as I often have throughout my career in electronic publishing and his line: “A terrible beauty is born.” The content set now at one’s disposal is incredibly powerful and challenges the user to harness that power.

Staying in a hotel in Seattle for the MLA Convention this past weekend that was once inhabited by explorers, prospectors, adventurers, and Jack London types; I sensed the weight of this accomplishment and felt the need to provide pickaxes and shovels to the community of discoverers mining our site for gold.

Over the next three years our goal is to build the definitive research environment in the humanities and social sciences.  That means adding services, as well as content, to our platform.  We anticipate being able to offer readers increased customization of the MUSE platform, allowing users to create personal libraries within the MUSE environment, for cataloging and annotating their reading.

There will be more content: more texts, more journals, more multi-media, more reference works, and more data sets. We are looking to empower the individual scholar with the tools be able to make new discoveries and interpretations of texts.

And this is where you come in. We’d like you to take an active part in the dialogue of the new MUSE and work with us.  Please contact me directly with feedback at djs@press.jhu.edu.

Thanks for reading,

Dean Smith