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Launched: 2015
Record Updated: Apr 18, 2024
Publishing system
Fulcrum is a community-based, open-source publishing platform that helps publishers present the full richness of their authors' research outputs in a durable, discoverable, accessible, and flexible form. The focus of the platform is on making multimodal long-form content (as well as simpler ebooks) as accessible, discoverable, and durable as possible. Because of its focus on long-term stewardship, the main Fulcrum service is a hosted one, based at the University of Michigan Library. While the code is all open source, the value of the platform lies in how embedded it is in research library infrastructure. The platform is heavily standards-based and connects with a variety of authoring, annotation, and editing tools. Fulcrum also has a special relationship with Janeway for publishers who wish to publish both book-like and journal-like digital materials.


Fulcrum is a community-based, open-source publishing platform that helps publishers present the full richness of their authors' research outputs in a durable, discoverable, accessible, and flexible form. It is at the heart of the infrastructure and services for mission-driven publishers that Michigan Publishing has provided for over a decade as part of the University of Michigan Library.

Key Achievements

  1. Fulcrum now hosts almost 10,000 ebooks from over 125 publishers.
  2. Fulcrum manages restricted access collections sold to over 800 libraries.
  3. Multimodal publications on Fulcrum have won multiple prizes for digital innovation, including awards for Best eProduct from the American Association of Publishers.

Technical Attributes

Open Code Repository


Maintenance Status

Actively maintained

Technical Documentation


Open Product Roadmap

In Progress

Open API

In Progress

Open Data Statement


Content Licensing

Creative Commons

Hosting Options & Service Providers

Hosting Strategy

Hosting through service provider only

What other tools and projects does your project interact with?


Community Engagement

Code of Conduct


Community Engagement


Organizational Commitment to Community Engagement

The Fulcrum platform and services have dedicated staff ( and a sign-up space for newsletters and updates. However, the community engagement mostly lives at the level of products on the platform such as the ACLS Humanities Ebook Collection, the University of Michigan Press Ebook Collection, and Lever Press. These have advisory and partner groups, regular conference displays for meet-ups, and deliver regular updates.

Engagement with Values Frameworks

Fulcrum uses the It Takes a Village audit tool from Lyrasis to check in regularly on its commitments to the community: As a platform almost entirely engaged with the humanities, the Fulcrum team is driven by its alignment with the HumetricsHSS values framework:

User Contribution Pathways

  • Contribute to code
  • Contribute to working groups or interest groups

Policies & Governance

Governance Summary

Fulcrum has been developed by a group of campus-based publishers working closely with disciplinary faculty and information science specialists, with publishing services provided in collaboration with Michigan Publishing, an arm of the University of Michigan Library, governed by the Regents of the University of Michigan.


Commitment to Equity & Inclusion


Privacy Policy


Web Accessibility Statement


Open Data Statement


Governance Activities

In Progress

Governance Structure & Processes


Transparent Pricing and Cost Expectations


Additional Information

Organizational History

Fulcrum was established in 2015 with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. After several rounds of development funding, the platform became self-sustaining in 2021.

Organizational Structure

Business or Ownership Model

Fiscal sponsorship (academic institution)

Full-time Staff



Primary Funding Source

Program service revenue

Funding Needs

Discoverability: As steward of large collections of ebooks focused on disciplinary areas such as archaeology and performing arts, the Fulcrum team is eager to improve its full-text search capabilities - especially in ways that provide value to specific disciplines.

Accessibility: Accessibility is a concern for backlist collections on Fulcrum - the platform is built around EPUB3 but a lot of legacy content is in PDF form; the costs of conversion are substantial. Being a leader in accessible platforms as well as accessible content is an aspiration for Fulcrum.

Durability: Working with other platforms to ensure that the types of multimodal publications that are facilitated by services such as Fulcrum can be preserved in terms of their functionality as well as content is a priority, as the fragility of the digital cultural record and the mismatch between authors expectations of longevity and the reality of the stewardship promise that libraries and publishers are making is of concern.