MathJax: Time to Step Up

The MathJax project has been very successful so far. Several million documents on the web use MathJax, and new organizations, websites, blogs, and wikis are adopting it for their math content every day. MathJax is now a vital part of the scientific communication infrastructure. To ensure MathJax remains a solid, robust solution in a rapidly changing internet environment, this requires ongoing browser testing and managed hosting, all of which is hard for an open source project to do without funding. So far, our existing sponsors have been generous in providing funding, but as the whole community benefits, we need you to step up. We are working on a revamped sponsorship program. Before we finalize our plans, we’d like to share them with you and get your opinion.

The feedback we’ve gotten from publishers of all kinds, from individuals to large organizations, tells us that these things are important:

  • Authors want to be able to use MathJax in all their favorite web platforms, without worrying about installing and maintaining it on a server of their own. We will soon be deploying a centralized installation of MathJax on a Content Delivery Network (CDN) where it can be accessed from any web page and delivered from fast local servers no matter where in the world your readers are located. The CDN will bring easy and dependable access to MathJax to many more users in many more contexts.

  • Publishers want their content to dependably reach their readers wherever they are, so we are working to support MathJax on more devices and browsers. Most recently we have been working on improving MathJax support in Internet Explorer 9 and Blackberry devices. With the continuing proliferation of smart phones and tablets in mind, we must increase our investment in thorough testing and monitoring performance on all these devices, and in responding rapidly when problems appear.

  • Performance is important. Better accessibility is important. Enhanced support for LaTeX and MathML are important. To address these issues that you have been asking for requires professional-quality software development practices. The ability to have paid technical staff in addition to open source contributions makes it possible to keep moving forward rapidly and consistently.

All of the above contribute to making MathJax a solid and useful product, but it costs money to set up a CDN and to hire technical staff. Design Science, AMS, and SIAM created the MathJax project, and continue to be major supporters, along with the American Physical Society, Project Euclid and Elsevier. However, if we are to move forward with all the activities mentioned in the above, it is time to broaden the base of support for MathJax. The entire MathJax community benefits from its continued support, and so we need the help of the entire community as well. To this end, we are proposing a new sponsorship program that we would like to get your feedback before going live with it in a few weeks.

The support structure we have in mind has three tiers:

  • MathJax Partners - Annual donation $20,000

    • Quarterly reports on the financial condition and budget forecasts for the project.

      • A private, version-controlled and custom-configured cloud-hosted copy of MathJax, together with regular usage, data, and QA reports. Bandwidth limits may apply.

      • A dedicated technical contact who will:

        • Coordinate priority response to technical issues and feature requests;

          • Work with Partners to understand and advise about technical requirements;

          • Organize one-on-one meetings, technical webinars and Q and A sessions with technical staff as needed.

      • A press release (optionally joint) upon joining.

      • A paragraph on the MathJax Sponsors page with a large logo and link to the Partners website.

      • Use of the MathJax Partner Badge and the term “MathJax Partner” in corporate communications.

  • MathJax Supporters - Annual donation $5,000 (for-profit) / $3,000 (non-profit)

    • Quarterly reports summarizing development roadmap, release timeline, and upcoming project activities.

      • Prominent, exclusive announcement in the News section on the MathJax homepage, a Twitter post, and Facebook update upon joining.

      • A small logo and link on the MathJax Sponsors page.

      • Use of the MathJax Supporter Badge and term “MathJax Supporter” in corporate communications.

  • MathJax Friends - Individual donations of any amount.

    • At your option, your name will be listed on the MathJax Sponsors page.

Tell us what you think. We are interested in your feedback on:

  • The contribution amounts at each level;

  • The benefits at each level;

  • At what level would you or your organization tentatively be willing to sponsor MathJax for a year?

Please note that we are not asking for a commitment yet, we just want to see what you think. Feel free to add your comments to this blog post. However, if you would feel more comfortable replying in confidence, please send your feedback to Hylke Koers at We are very interested in anything you have to say on this topic. Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts.