Highlights of the Project MUSE Journal Publisher Agreement

Project MUSE requires a signed license agreement prior to announcing the inclusion of a new journal in MUSE. The license agreement does not affect the publisher’s present rights to its content but allows Project MUSE to sell the content in its collections. Project MUSE retains rights to the database format and any features added. A summary of the additional terms of the license agreement follows.


Generally, there are no costs to publishers for inclusion of a title in Project MUSE. Instead, MUSE pays publishers royalties on a calendar-year basis. MUSE currently pays out to publishers approximately 70% of revenues as royalties based on each journal’s proportionate share of usage, proportionate share of online content, and a score based on each journal’s quality, longevity, and degree of online availability. Once content goes online, it is a permanent part of the collection; should a publisher decide to end its relationship with MUSE, the content already online remains in MUSE and continues to earn royalties based on usage.

Single-Title Sales

Should the publisher desire, the Johns Hopkins University Press can also handle sales of a journal unbundled from the MUSE database. This service allows for sales of the electronic edition to institutions that do not subscribe to the journal through a MUSE collection. A publisher can choose to have JHUP handle both the selling and providing library access of its journal, or can opt to sell online subscriptions and have JHUP handle the access.


Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe (LOCKSS) is a multi-institutional, multi-publisher initiative to create a permanent web publishing and access system. Project MUSE journal content may be made available to LOCKSS participants that have previously subscribed to MUSE but have canceled their subscriptions. Former subscribers will only have access to the content that was available to them as part of their subscription.

Annual Publisher's Meeting

At a meeting hosted for all participating publishers every year, Project MUSE provides updates on finances, usage statistics, sales, customers, consortia, future plans, and other information of interest to publishers.

Advisory Board and Journal Publisher Working Group

Project MUSE has created two bodies to provide guidance to ensure that it provides the best services for MUSE publishers, subscribers, and users. The Project MUSE Advisory Board, made up of leaders from electronic publishing, the library world, and the user community, advises MUSE management on strategic direction. The Project MUSE Journal Publisher Working Group, with representatives from all types of MUSE publishers, has input on changes and developments related to day-to-day business.


Project MUSE is responsible for making MUSE journals available online, handling all sales and marketing of MUSE collections worldwide, providing publishers with access to usage statistics for their titles, providing access for individual subscribers when applicable, and providing publishers with the ability to update the general informational pages about their journals.

The journal publisher’s major responsibilities are to provide final electronic files at least two weeks ahead of the mail date, and to obtain authors’ agreements and necessary permissions for including their materials in MUSE.


The contract term is three years and automatically renews for successive one-year terms. However, either party can terminate the contract with six month’s notice, effective at the end of a journal’s volume year.

For further information on the Project MUSE Publisher Licensing Agreement, please contact Elizabeth Brown by email or at 410-516-6834.