The MIT Knowledge Futures Group (KFG), a new joint venture of the  MIT Media Lab and the MIT Press, develops and deploys technologies that form part of a new open knowledge ecosystem. The partnership is the first of its kind between a leading publisher and a world-class research lab that promotes and builds change-creating technologies. As the futures of science, philanthropy, and publishing converge, the KFG is building unprecedented infrastructure for the dissemination of knowledge that

  • Fully exploits the capabilities of the web
  • Accelerates discovery, research funding, and the structuring and transmission of knowledge
  • Enriches the published record to align academic incentives with societally beneficial outcomes
  • Models institutional ownership of knowledge infrastructure
  • Amplifies the impact of investment in basic research

Vision

In our vision of the future, universities and researchers play a lead role in building and maintaining our knowledge systems, reclaiming territory that was ceded to third-party technology providers in recent decades. We firmly believe it’s essential for universities, and core to their miss… View full description

The MIT Knowledge Futures Group (KFG), a new joint venture of the  MIT Media Lab and the MIT Press, develops and deploys technologies that form part of a new open knowledge ecosystem. The partnership is the first of its kind between a leading publisher and a world-class research lab that promotes and builds change-creating technologies. As the futures of science, philanthropy, and publishing converge, the KFG is building unprecedented infrastructure for the dissemination of knowledge that

  • Fully exploits the capabilities of the web
  • Accelerates discovery, research funding, and the structuring and transmission of knowledge
  • Enriches the published record to align academic incentives with societally beneficial outcomes
  • Models institutional ownership of knowledge infrastructure
  • Amplifies the impact of investment in basic research

Vision

In our vision of the future, universities and researchers play a lead role in building and maintaining our knowledge systems, reclaiming territory that was ceded to third-party technology providers in recent decades. We firmly believe it’s essential for universities, and core to their mission, to assert greater control over systems for knowledge representation, dissemination, and preservation rather than allowing a small handful of commercial entities to maintain a stranglehold on markets for research information, academic reputation systems, publishing technologies, and digital innovation. Knowledge is, after all, the greatest legacy of human progress and our strongest ammunition in facing urgent global challenges. It must be protected from increasingly unfree markets and other corrupting forces.

Mission

KFG  serves as a test kitchen and staging platform for the development of open source technologies, standards, and aligned open access publications. Our goals are (1) to develop and deploy projects that enrich our open knowledge infrastructure, and (2) leading by example, to spark a movement towards greater institutional ownership of that infrastructure. As we know from deep experience, when we succeed, others are inspired, if not compelled, to follow.

Projects

KFG is currently hosting and developing PubPub, an open authoring and publishing platform initially developed as a Media Lab project, by deploying it with dozens of MIT Press books and journals. PubPub socializes the process of knowledge creation by integrating conversation, annotation, and versioning into short and long-form digital publication. Among the books now on PubPub is Frankenbook, an interactive edition of Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds (MIT Press, 2017). Also on PubPub is the Journal of Design and Science, which forges new connections between science and design and breaks down the barriers between academic disciplines. We envision JoDS as the node in a global online community rooted in the Media Lab’s research and design ethos.


KFG is also developing The Underlay, an open, distributed knowledge store architected to capture, connect, and archive publicly available knowledge and its provenance. The Underlay provides mechanisms for distilling the knowledge graph from openly available publications, along with the archival and access technology to make the data and content hosted on PubPub available to other platforms.

In addition, KFG will serve as a convening forum for the local open knowledge community and will host occasional workshops to share developments on internal and external projects.

Collaboration

The MIT Press and the Media Lab have a long history of collaboration, beginning with renowned designer Muriel Cooper, who was the Press's first art director and later a founding faculty member of the Media Lab. Both Press and Lab reflect the values of MIT, an institution that places a premium on experimentation, invention, and open information access.