As director and publisher of the MIT Press, Amy Brand presides over one of the largest university presses in the world — publishing more than 350 books and 40 journals each year on subjects ranging from machine learning to contemporary artists, and even children’s books. Marking its 60th anniversary this month, the nonprofit MIT Press has been under her command since 2015.
“I feel like I have one of the best jobs in the world because I’m living in this realm of exciting ideas and discoveries,” Brand said. “I’m getting to walk and work with such brilliant and amazing people at the press, but also in general. Authors who are passionate about what they do and passionate about the potential for knowledge.”
During her tenure, Brand has doubled down on publishing more titles by and about women and people of color. She also helped reopen the university’s Kendall Square bookstore and launched its new children’s section. And she’s brought a commitment to open access publishing: a major part of her mission at the Press, she said, is to get more research out into the world equitably and openly.
Brand is a pioneer in the fight for open access models in academia, that make research results — like data and papers published in academic journals — widely and publicly available online. In the 1990s while working at Harvard, she helped launch the school’s open access initiative — Harvard was the first US university to have “a formal faculty commitment to making research open,” she said.