Micah Altman

Micah Altman

Director of Research, Center for Research on Equitable and Open Scholarship
Director of Research, MIT Libraries
Head/Scientist, Program on Information Science
E36-6104 (105 Broadway)
p: 5854664224

Dr. Micah Altman is Director of Research  for the Center for Research on Equitable and Open Scholarship (CREOS), and Head/Scientist, Program on Information Science for the MIT Libraries, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Previously Dr. Altman served as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution, and at Harvard University as the Associate Director of the Harvard-MIT Data Center, Archival Director of the Henry A. Murray Archive, and Senior Research Scientist in the Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences.

Dr Altman conducts work primarily in the fields of information science, social science. His work combines  theoretical perspectives from computer science, law and economics; using social-scientific approaches to observational-, field- and simulation- research design; with methods for causal inference; quantitative statistical estimation; as applied to data generated through crowd-sourcing, simulation, field-experiments, and data-mining -- as well as traditional approaches. Dr. Altman's current research portfolio foruses on the dissemination, preservation, reliability and governance of scholarly knowledge and government information -- and to issues of participation, ethics, and equity related to these knowledge systems.

Dr. Altman has authored over 80 articles; a half-dozen open source software packages; and three books and monographs. These have been published in leading outlets such as Nature, Political Analysis, Political Geography, The Journal of Statistical Software, The National Academies Press,The Washington Post, and dozens of other professional journals; and span the fields of information science, statistics, computer science, political science, law, history, and geography.  His books correct common computational errors made across the range of social sciences, and articulate principles for data management and dissemination. Dr. Altman's work has been recognized with awards from professional organizations, research grants from a spectrum of funders, citations by the U.S. Supreme Court, and coverage by national and regional media.

Dr. Altman currently serves on the editorial boards forSocial Science Computer Review; and Statistical Associates Publishers; on the technical advisory boards of Force11 and The Qualitative Data Archive; on the steering committee for the Data-Preservation Alliance for Social Science;  and on scientific review study sections, boards and panels for numerous foundations, fedeeral agencies, and non-profits.  He has served as chair of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance ; on the boards of directors for ORCID and iSolon;  on the board for the American Political Science Association’s section on Information technology and politics; and the editorial boards of The American Journal of Political Science.

Dr. Altman work has been lauded with the 2018 Brown Democracy Medal, the  2013 Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest, from the Tides Foundation; with the 2012 Data Innovation Award for Social Impact from O’Reilly Strata; by  the 2012 Outstanding Software Development in Information Technology and Politics Award from the American Political Science Association; as a 2011 Top Policy Innovation by Politico; placed  2nd in the 2011 Govfresh Awards for best use of open source; won the 2009 Best Political Science Research Software Award, received the 2009 Best Political Science Research Software Award, the 2005 Best Political Science Software Award,  the 1999 Best Political Science Research Website Award, and 1998 Weaver Award, given by the American Political Science Association (ITP, CMS, and Elections and Representation Sections),  and received a 1999 Outstanding Dissertation Award, given by the Western Political Science Association, for best dissertation.

Dr. Altman earned a Ph.D. in Social Science from the California Institute of Technology, and conducted his postdoctoral research at Harvard University. Prior to studying social science, Dr. Altman worked as a software engineer in "Silicon Valley" developing software, courses, teaching and consulting on the subject of high-performance computing.

For more information:


To make an appointment: 

More ways to contact me

  •  Twitter: @drmaltman
  •  Skype: micah_altman
  •  Google talk:
  •  Mailing Address: E36-6104, 105 Broadway,  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139

For fun: 


Research Associates

Patsy Baudoin, MLS, Ph.D.

Patsy Baudoin, MLS, Ph.D.

Research Affiliate

After retiring from the MIT Libraries in January 2016, where she was most recently digital humanities librarian and librarian to the Media Lab at MIT, Dr. Patsy Baudoin established her own developmental-editing and translating business. Past experience includes co-managing Schoenhof’s Foreign Books, documentary filmmaking, TV production, software project management, teaching French language and literature, and consulting in digital archiving. She has edited and translated books and articles, and enjoys writing book reviews, too. She is one of the co-authors of 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1));:GOTO10 (MIT Press, 2012).

David Chang

Alumni: Research Affiliate
Alumni: Undergraduate Research Intern
Graduate Research Intern

David Chang is a 2017 Harvard graduate, majoring in Social Studies. He is a past member of the research program as a summer intern where he studied privacy, informational, harm and geographic discrimination. He is currently working as a Research Affiliate and furthering his work in data privacy, specifically around aggregate genomic information. He hopes that this work will help prepare him for addressing present-day problems of big data ubiquity and a lack of legislation to address its accelerated growth.

Jessica Chapel

Graduate Research Intern
Jessica Chapel is a second-year student in the Simmons SLIS program focusing on digital libraries and archives. Previously, she worked as a digital producer and editor for an international sporting event, the Breeders’ Cup, and and for publications such as the Daily Racing Form, American Prospect, and the Atlantic. Her research this summer will concentrate on identifying progress in digital preservation research and practices.

Alexandra Chassanoff

Research Affiliate
Software Curation Postdoctoral Fellow, alum

Alexandra Chassanoff has joined the MIT Libraries as the software curation postdoctoral fellow.  This position is a part of the Council on Library and Information Resources Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.

Chassanoff is a recent graduate of the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her dissertation examines the information experiences of historians using digitized archival photographs as evidence. Her broad research interests concern the creation, transmission, and reception of scholarly knowledge in the digital age, and the ways in which infrastructures can support emerging practices.  

Chassanoff was recently the project manager at BitCurator Access, a Mellon Foundation-funded initiative to develop open-source software providing web based and local access to born-digital content held on disk images. From September 2011 until October 2014, she was the project manager at the BitCurator Project, which consisted of conceptualizing and building an open source digital forensics software environment for archivists working with born digital materials.

At MIT, Chassanoff works to investigate and make recommendations for models and strategies that the Libraries can adopt for managing software as complex digital objects across generations of technology.


Chassanoff received a Ph.D. and an MS in Information Science from UNC Chapel Hill and a BA from Brandeis University.

Kit Haines

Kit Haines

Undergraduate Research Intern

Hi! I'm Kit! I'm a mathematics major with minor obsession with open source software, digital security, personal privacy, and organizational transparency. I work as a senior software engineer for Cambridge Semantics (which makes open anzo), and during my free time, enjoy trying to learn as much from data as I can.

Richard Landau

Research Program Affiliate

Richard "Rick" Landau holds a Masters (ABD) in statistics from Princeton,  and has had long and varied experience with many types and many aspects of computer systems, computer languages, networks, and architectures. 

He has lead the development of numerous public computing standards through DEC, Dell and DMTF, and holds two patents.

Zachary M. Lizee

Graduate Research Intern

Zachary Lizee is a graduate student in the Simmons College Library and Information Science program.  Zachary will be graduating in December 2016 with a MS from Simmons.  Previously, Zachary studied Italian Renaissance socio-political patronage networks and the effects of political power networks on the recording of historical events during the Italic Wars (1494-1530).  Zachary wishes to use his experiences as a researcher to aid and facilitate libraries and their staff in increasing information literacy skills and electronic resources skills with the goal of increasing user accessibility and comprehension.

Katherine H. Montgomery

Graduate Research Intern

Katie is a soon to be graduate of the Library & Information Science program at Simmons College.  She loves to play with ideas that can improve human interaction with information and streamline the learning experience.  Her research this year focuses on user interface affordances using embedded sensors.

Jessica Polka, Ph.D.

Jessica Polka, Ph.D.

Research Affiliate

Jessica Polka, PhD is a visiting scholar at the Whitehead Institute and director of ASAPbio, a biologist-driven project to promote the productive use of preprints in the life sciences. She performed postdoctoral research in the department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School following a PhD in Biochemistry from UCSF. She also serves as president of the board of directors of Future of Research, a steering committee member of Rescuing Biomedical Research, a member of the NAS Next Generation Researchers Initiative, and a member of ASCB's public policy committee.

Margaret Purdy

Graduate Research Intern

Margaret is a currently pursuing her master’s degree in Library and Information Science at Simmons College, with a research interest around technology and library innovation. Prior to entering Simmons, she worked in digital advertising and legal information services, and will bring aspects of each of those to her project in data privacy and policy.

Travis Rich, Ph.D.

Travis Rich, Ph.D.

Research Affiliate

Travis Rich focuses on designing and building technologies that enable large-scale collaborative learning and discovery. He completed his MS and PhD at the MIT Media Lab developing tools for collaborative scientific publishing and has previously served as Director of Technology for the Andorran Government Smart Country project and co-founder of ByteLight. Travis received an MS and BS in Electrical Engineering from Boston University. 

David S. H.  Rosenthal, Ph.D.

David S. H. Rosenthal, Ph.D.

Research Affiliate

Dr. David S. H. Rosenthal recently retired after nearly two decades as Chief Scientist of the LOCKSS (Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) Program at the Stanford University Libraries, which he co-founded with Vicky Reich.

The LOCKSS Program pioneered the distributed approach to digital preservation, providing open-source software that communities can use to build networks that preserve digital content such as journals, books, web archives, data and digitized collections against a broad range of threats.

Dr. Rosenthal has an M.A. from Trinity College, Cambridge and a Ph.D. from Imperial College, London.  He was part of the IBM-funded Andrew Project at Carnegie-Mellon University, which pioneered campus-wide networking.  As a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems, he played a major role in developing Version 11 of the X Window System, only now being phased out after 30 years providing the user interface technology for Unix-like systems such as Linux.  He also worked on Sun's GX series of graphics chips, which led to becoming employee #4 and Chief Scientist at NVIDIA, by far the world's most successful graphics chip company.

He has published extensively on computer graphics, operating systems and digital preservation, is a named inventor on 24 US patents, and blogs on digital preservation and scholarly communication.

Dylan Sam

Undergraduate Research Intern

Dylan Sam is a research assistant and rising second year student at Brown University, currently studying Computer Science and Applied Math. He is interested specifically in the fields of Data Science, Machine Learning, and Computational Chemistry. He is an organizer of the Brown Data Science club and Head Teaching Assistant for Computer Science. He also is the part of the Club Tennis Team and a blog writer for the Ursa Sapiens Blog.

Ada van Tine

Ada van Tine

Graduate Research Intern

Ada van Tine is a Library and Information Science Masters student at Simmons college. She is passionate about social justice and helping to make libraries more inclusive and innovative. She currently lives in Cambridge with her husband and dog. 

Sara Wilson, '20

Sara Wilson, '20

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program - Spring 2018

Sara is an undergraduate in the Class of 2020 studying Materials Science and Engineering.  She a research assistant for the joint project between the Jaramillo Group in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Libraries Program on Information Science.  This project explores new ways of improving the publication, discovery, and use of experimental data in materials science with the overall goal of developing the future of open materials science.


Kelly Hopkins

Kelly Hopkins

Program Administrator, MIT Libraries Program on Information Science
77 Massachusetts Avenue, E25-131 Cambridge, MA 02139
p: 617.253.3044

Ms. Hopkins is the Program Administrator for the MIT Libraries Program on Information Science and supports Dr. Altman in the preparation of events and activities for the program.  She is also involved with the Information Technology & Digital Development program at the MIT Libraries and is the administrative face of Cubespace.


Ms. Hopkins also works at the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, teaches science in the Overnight program at the Museum of Science, creates and sells her own jewelry, and is a classically trained singer performing regularly in the Greater Boston area.


Marguerite Avery

Alumni: Research Affiliate
p: 617-320-2727

For the past ten years, Margy was Senior Acquisitions Editor at The MIT Press where she acquired scholarly, trade, and reference work in Science and Technology Studies, Information Science, Communications, and Internet Studies. She created critically acclaimed series such as those in Infrastructures Studies (Geoffrey Bowker and Paul Edwards), the Information Society (Laura DeNardis and Michael Zimmer) and History and Foundations of Information Science (Michael Buckland, Jonathan Furner, and Markus Krajewski). Margy also developed the trade Essential Knowledge series, designed to convey challenging concepts to a more popular readership; such topics have included intellectual property strategy (by John Palfrey), memes in digital culture (by Limor Shifman), crowdsourcing (by Daren Brabham), and open access (by Peter Suber).

Margy continues to enage these topics through her work as the Digital Publications Chair of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S), a member of the Digital Public Library of America’s Content & Scope group, serves on the Board of Directors for Anvil Academic Press, member of the Academic Steering & Advocacy Committee for the Open Library of Humanities, and as a trustee for the Somerville Public Library.

Diana Hellyar

Alumni: Graduate Research Intern

Diana Hellyar is a graduate student at Simmons College at the School of Library and Information Science and is concentrating in Information Science and Technology (MLIS expected May 2016). Diana’s research in the Program is focused on the applications of emerging virtual reality and visualization technology to library information discovery.

Diana’s professional interests are in how new technologies can improve people’s experiences in the libraries and with library content. She has 10 years of experience in public, school and academic libraries. Currently, she is working as a Circulation and Reference Assistant at Pine Manor College.

Wenqing Lu

Alumni - Graduate Research Assistant, Research Intern

Wenqing Lu is a research intern in MIT's Program on Information Science. She holds a Master of Arts in Russian language, and is scheduled to complete a MSLIS at Simmons College GSLIS in 2014.

James Putnam

Alumni: Graduate Research Intern

James (Jim) Putnam is completing his MLIS degree at Simmons College. He joined the program in the Summer of 2015 and is collaborating on research in university information management. 

Lucy Taylor

Alumni: Graduate Research Intern

Lucy Taylor is a graduate student at Simmons School of Library and Information Science where she will receive her MLIS in Spring 2016. Lucy’s undergraduate degree in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Oxford University and experience working at the Bodleian Libraries has shaped her commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and and her enjoyment in helping others discover information and pursue their academic goals. Lucy is interested in exploring the scholarly communication workflow, how to make academic information more accessible through open access and data and how to enhance library platforms and websites through usability testing and user experience.  Her work as a graduate intern focuses on the landscape of current academic software curation, with a view to identifying use cases, best practices and guidelines.

Carenanne Torrey

Alumni: Graduate Research Intern
Carenanne Torrey (Caren) is a graduate student at Simmons School of Library and Information Science where she will receive her MLIS Spring 2015.  She enjoys teaching others how to find, evaluate, and use information. Caren embraces new technologies by building websites, working in databases, and evaluating usability by exploring who uses libraries and how they use them.  Her experience includes an internship at Harvard, where she researched, wrote, and edited projects related to the history of the university and prospect research.  She is active in the Special Libraries Association, where she is the President for that Simmons student group.  Caren currently works in a corporate pharmaceutical library connecting scientists to information.


Renee  Walsh

Renee Walsh

Alumni: Graduate Research Intern

Renee Walsh is a Graduate Student at Simmons College of Library and Information Science, where she will receive her M.S. in December of 2016.  Prior to studying at Simmons College, Renee studied French and Francophone Literature, with a focus on writers of Middle Eastern and North African origin.  Renee hopes to use her background in cultural studies to help others disseminate, appreciate, and explore cultural heritage in the digital realm.  Her research at MIT is focusing on how VR can improve access to and the exploration of library materials.


Alex Wei

Alumni: Research Intern

Alex Wei is a student intern for the MIT Program on Information Science for MIT Libraries working on projects related to open data and transparency. A senior at Newton North High School, Alex enjoys studying History, Math, and Languages. He has an interest in politics and humanities.

Carol Witt

Alumni: Graduate Research Intern

Carol Witt is a student at the School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, from which she will receive her Master of Science in January 2017. She has a Master of Arts from the University of Toronto’s Centre for Medieval Studies, an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Mediaeval and Celtic Studies from the University of Toronto, and a Library and Information Technician Diploma from Seneca College.

Carol’s library interests are in technology and helping to empower people within an academic or research setting. Her research at MIT will explore reimagining library instruction, blending instruction for individual gain with promoting social awareness and responsibility in informational behaviour, as well as exploring the potential for new technology to expand the range of instructional formats and designs.