About Lever Press

How we run Lever Press

Unlike other Open Access initiatives, Lever Press is a press governed by its participating members. An Editorial Board, composed of faculty from participating institutions, oversees the editorial and review process for our titles; an elected Oversight Committee, composed of representatives of participating institutions, directs the execution of Lever’s business plan. Lever Press is a member of the Association of University Presses.

Lever Initiative Bylaws

Editorial Board

The Editorial Board is responsible for overseeing the acquisition, review, and development process through which individual titles have progressed, and to assure by its imprimatur both the scholarly quality of a work and its alignment with the editorial program of the Lever Press. The Board consists of faculty nominated from Lever Press pledging institutions and selected by the Oversight Committee. The Chair of the Oversight Committee holds an ex officio position on the Board and two representatives from Michigan Publishing hold non-voting positions. The Board meets monthly by teleconference and in person at least once per year.

Current Editorial Board members:

  • Kathryne Corbin, Haverford College
  • Mary Crone-Odekon, Skidmore College (Vice Chair)
  • Darin Hayton, Haverford College (Chair)
  • Bethany Hicok, Williams College
  • Kathryn Lesh, Union College
  • Angelo Mercado, Grinnell College
  • Jonson Miller, Drexel University
  • Fernando Nascimento, Bowdoin College
  • Hai-Dang Phan, Grinnell College


  • Sara Cohen, Editorial Director, University of Michigan Press
  • Sean Guynes, Acquiring Editor, Lever Press
  • Curtis Brundy, Oversight Committee Chair, ex officio

Oversight Committee

The Oversight Committee is responsible for overall strategic guidance of the Lever Press. The Committee consists of representatives nominated from and elected by Lever Press pledging institutions, and two representatives from Michigan Publishing. The committee meets monthly by teleconference and in person at least once per year.

Current Oversight Committee members:

  • Andrew Ashton, Director of the Libraries, Thompson Library, Vassar College
  • Curtis Brundy, Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Communication and Collections, Parks Library, Iowa State University (Chair)
  • Mark Christel, Librarian of the College, Grinnell College
  • Nancy Falciani-White, Library Director, Randolph-Macon College (Secretary)
  • Susan Fliss, Dean of Libraries, Neilson Library, Smith College
  • Bryn Geffert, Dean of Libraries, Howe Library, University of Vermont
  • Anne Houston, Director of Libraries and College Librarian, McCabe Library, Swarthmore College (Treasurer)
  • Frances Maloy, College Librarian, Schaffer Library, Union College (Past Chair)
  • Kevin Mulroy, College Librarian, Mary Norton Clapp Library, Occidental College
  • Lev Rickards, Assistant Dean, Collections & Scholarly Communication, Santa Clara University Library, Santa Clara University
  • Luke Vilelle, University Librarian, Wyndham Robertson Library, Hollins University (Vice Chair/Chair-elect)


  • Sean Guynes, Acquiring Editor, Lever Press
  • Charles Watkinson, AUL for Publishing and Director of the University of Michigan Press

Operations Group

The Lever Press Operations Group is essentially the production backbone of Lever Press. It consists of staff at Michigan Publishing with a key role in acquiring, developing, and producing Lever Press titles, or in the administration of this initiative. The current Operations Group consists of:

  • Jason Colman, Director, Michigan Publishing Services
  • Terri Geitgey, Program Manager, Lever Press and Publishing Services Librarian, Michigan Publishing Services
  • Sean Guynes, Acquiring Editor, Lever Press
  • Jamie Jones, Director, Sales, Marketing and Outreach, University of Michigan Press
  • Sharla Lair, Sr. Strategist, Open Access & Scholarly Communication Initiatives, Lyrasis
  • Kelsey Mrjoian, Library Relations Manager, University of Michigan Press
  • Katie Rokakis, Senior Digital Publishing Coordinator, Michigan Publishing Services
  • Charles Watkinson, AUL for Publishing and Director of the University of Michigan Press

Our Values

Lever Press is grounded on a set of values, and guided by clear commitments. The values on which we’re basing our work are:

  • producing the highest quality scholarship in an economically sustainable model
  • embodying and reflecting the values of the liberal arts, and
  • leading the way in establishing best practices for born-digital, peer reviewed, open access monograph publishing.

As a press aligned with the ethos and mission of liberal arts colleges, we seek out, identify, evaluate, and advocate for transformative scholarship that spurs creative dialogue within and between traditional fields of inquiry, emphasizes disciplinary innovation, draws upon new models of collaborative research, and strives to reach the broadest audience possible. We value:

  • leadership and the courage to push existing boundaries
  • diverse voices and viewpoints
  • the principles of equity and social justice
  • building community among our members and beyond
  • continuous learning

By living our values we will be responsive to the needs of readers, authors, and member institutions, share our liberal arts focus broadly, and engage globally with others in the exchange of new scholarship.

Our Commitments

Alignment with mission and ethos of liberal arts colleges. Like the colleges supporting our mission, we welcome works exploring intellectual connections across academic disciplines and divisions. Lever Press also champions works whose methods and modalities reach beyond the standard monograph. Inspired by the close collaborations between faculty and undergraduate students at liberal arts colleges, we seek path-breaking ideas communicated with clarity and creativity—publications that “teach what they know.”

Platinum Open Access. Lever Press is a fully open access press: all works will be freely available to readers on the web immediately upon publication. Uniquely, Lever Press is committed to what we’re calling “Platinum OA,” in which all the costs of acquiring, editing, developing, and producing the work are borne collectively by our supporting institutions—not by individual authors or their sponsoring departments or institutions. Platinum OA means Lever Press can consider works with regard to scholarly merit only. Because we take on all the costs of producing the work we select, Platinum OA means one thing more: that the work we produce is of the highest quality, and has been selected exactly because it is worth the investment.

Born digital. While Lever Press titles will appear in print form wherever possible, we approach publishing as a digital-first endeavor. Unconstrained by legacy publishing processes and leveraging the opportunities for reuse facilitated by an open-access business model, Lever Press will welcome projects of digital scholarship not well served by scholarly conventions limited to print-only outcomes. We’ll work in partnership with an emerging community of scholars in the digital humanities who are linking together narrative analysis and datasets from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and using new tools for visualization and reader engagement.

Peer Review

Lever Press is committed to the highest standards of peer review in evaluating the work it considers for publication and to communicating the nature of review to readers in a transparent fashion. As a process of independent and informed evaluation of both argument and originality of scholarly work, peer review is the principal means by which Lever assures the quality and merit of the work it publishes. Please see our Peer Review Commitments and Guidelines page for more details.

Discovery and Reuse

Lever Press titles are made available under Creative Commons (CC) licenses to maximize opportunities for reuse. The particular CC license chosen is up to the author. As well as being delivered through the Fulcrum platform, Lever Press titles are delivered to a range of book indexers, library discovery services, and platforms including JSTOR Open, Muse Open, Open Research Library, and OAPEN. MARC records are available for free download under a CC0 license from this location. See how Lever Press titles receive usage all over the world on the Readership Map.

Our Supporting Institutions

  • Amherst College
  • Atlanta University Center Consortium
  • Berea College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Carleton College
  • Central Washington University
  • Claremont Colleges
  • Claremont Graduate University
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Clark Atlanta University
  • The College of Wooster
  • The College of Saint Benedict / Saint John's University
  • Davidson College
  • Denison University
  • DePauw University
  • Grinnell College
  • Hamilton College
  • Hampshire College
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Hollins University
  • Iowa State University
  • Keck Graduate Institute
  • Knox College
  • Lafayette College
  • Macalester College
  • Middlebury College
  • Morehouse College
  • Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Norwich University
  • Occidental College
  • Penn State University
  • Pitzer College
  • Pomona College
  • Randolph-Macon College
  • Rollins College
  • Santa Clara University
  • Scripps College
  • Skidmore College
  • Smith College
  • Spelman College
  • Susquehanna University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Trinity University
  • Union College
  • University of California, Los Angeles Library
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Northern Colorado
  • University of Puget Sound
  • University of Rhode Island
  • University of San Francisco
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Vermont
  • Vassar College
  • Washington and Lee University
  • Whitman College
  • Whittier College
  • Willamette University
  • Williams College

Historical Documents

Lever Press arises out of an initiative of the Oberlin Group to study how the libraries of liberal arts colleges could offer a new and compelling alternative to authors of scholarly works for a way of publishing their work.

The history of our work has been documented in a website begun when the Task Force was launched. You can find there as well copies of the results of a faculty survey we conducted about needs in scholarly publishing, and our first report to the Oberlin Group.

If you’re interested, you can read as well:

After finalizing our choice, the Task Force has met regularly with the Amherst/Michigan team to finalize the documents that set out how the Lever Press will be governed by participating libraries and guided by its editorial board.

Note that while the initial agreement is between the publishing team and the Oberlin Group, participation is not limited to Oberlin Group members, and libraries committing to our work stand as equals in the governance of the Press.

We’ve also developed the document that participating libraries will be asked to sign in joining the Lever Press initiative as stakeholders.