Johns Hopkins University press will make 1,400 books and 97 journals accessible for free for the remainder of the spring semester to both students and the general public via the Project MUSE platform—the latest in a number of university presses making similar arrangements.
Starting March 18, all JHU Press content currently hosted on the Project MUSE platform will be freely available to readers worldwide until at least May 31. Other presses who have taken similar steps are Ohio State University Press (all books and journals), University of Nebraska Press (all books and journals), University of North Carolina Press (all books), Temple University Press (all books), and Vanderbilt University Press (selected books). MUSE expects to announce new participants and will continually update a list of publishers offering free access to content.
“Serving the needs of libraries, publishers, and scholars has been core to the MUSE mission since day one,” said Wendy Queen, the director of Project MUSE. “The global Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in enormous and rapid changes to the lives of all our constituents, with the need to adapt daily to new methods of communicating and working. MUSE is grateful for the opportunity to support our community through this crisis, as a hub to connect users and the content they need, from wherever they can.”
The move represents one of many major changes in strategy among publishers of all kinds in response to the Covid-19 global pandemic. It is only the latest major action taken by Johns Hopkins University as a whole in response to the novel coronavirus; the school's Center for Health Security is currently one of the most consistent and factual sources of current information on the pandemic, and offers a daily newsletter with updates for those hoping to keep abreast of the situation.
“Access to the best research and scholarship is essential for students completing their studies, for faculty members in their teaching and research, for policy makers weighing critical decisions, and for health professionals working to save lives,” JHU Press director Barbara Kline Pope wrote in a message to the JHU Press community. “It is comforting and empowering during this uncertain time to do everything we can to stay true to our mission and to help each other navigate unprecedented challenges to daily life—including being a student and conducting research.”