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Internships Policy

How we think about the role(s) of interns, source them in just and equitable ways, and conceptualize both their place within the KFG and the tasks they undertake.
Published onMar 08, 2022
Internships Policy
key-enterThis Pub is a Supplement to
Spring 2023 Community Services Intern
Spring 2023 Community Services Intern

Creatively translate research into clean, compelling Community and publication design with a thoughtfully remote and mission-driven team | Remote, part-time for 4 months, $20.00/hour


Interns have a natural part to play in the KF ecosystem. In fact, they occupy a unique position: internships are fundamentally an educational experience, and in the context of the KFG, they are one way that the heart and soul of academic life cross over into the lively, community-building process of making knowledge public. We are committed to hiring interns that reflect the diversity of knowledge production, writ large. Internships will always engage participants in projects that support structural justice-oriented objectives in meaningful ways.

Our values

In some contexts, the balance between providing valuable experience, and the provision of pay and fair treatment, has proven difficult to strike. In the interest of developing our internship policy within a framework of basic fairness, we offer five simple principles that define KF Internships.

1. Pay

KF Internships will always be paid internships.

2. Non-competition

Performance isn’t measured against other interns, especially in terms of “payoff.” An intern’s colleagues are their collaborators in pursuit of common objectives.

3. Dignity

There’s no shame in project-based work. Long live the freelance! Interns should take pride in what they contribute, and participate with the dignity they deserve.

4. Value and growth

We commit to the provision of educative experiences that interns can value, and expect in turn that interns will be committed to projects that contribute to the growth of the KFG in substantial, measurable ways. This means we prioritize:

  • Project-based outputs

  • Mentorship over delegation

  • Tangible skill development

5. People over prestige

We seek interns from diverse backgrounds and do not consider the credentials or prestigiousness of the intern’s institution in our selection process. We want our interns to reflect the diversity of the public producing knowledge.

Applying and Creating Openings

Submitting an Unsolicited External Application

KFG is interested in supporting projects that will use our technologies in novel ways to advance the company’s mission of increasing access to knowledge creation and dissemination while driving the applicant’s personal development as a scholarly content student or professional.

In general, we are interested in projects that:

  • Use specific features of our infrastructure to accomplish key project goals. This does not have to be the main focus of the project, but should be important to its success.

  • Involve developing innovative research techniques, unique digital knowledge communities, or new publishing technologies.

  • Could not be done without the use of KFG technologies.

  • Benefit communities underrepresented in technology and academia.

We are generally not interested in supporting digital publishing projects that need production or editing support. For these projects, we invite you to apply for pro-bono community services via our services quote form.

To apply, send an email to [email protected] with the following information:

  • A brief description of the project stating the nature of the work to be performed during the internship.

  • A brief explanation of how the project will use KFG technologies to advance an aspect of the company’s mission and drive a component of the applicants’ personal development as scholarly content creators.

  • A brief explanation of what kind of KFG support is needed to complete the project. We're interested in supporting projects that would not be possible without KFG resources and support. That's often strategy, research, tech consultation, feature development, and/or connections with folks in our network, but it could include other things you think we could help you with.

  • A brief Letter of Support from a teacher, mentor, friend, ally, etc. stating the value of the project.

  • The estimated number of paid hours required to complete the project.

  • Any additional supporting documents or links such as drafts, sketches, data, research, code repositories, etc.

If you’re on the fence, consider emailing us anyway to ask if your project might be a fit.

Applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis according to the selection criteria above.

Creating an Opening For an Internal Project

Based on the needs of a KFG team, in relation to a specific, time-bound project or task. Any member of the KF team is encouraged to create a job description for an intern.

Hiring Interns

For internal projects, postings must include a job description. The description should be generated by the team that hopes to hire an intern, in relation to a specific, time-bound project or task of definite educational value.

External project internships will be selectively advertised. Unsolicited applications may be reviewed on a rolling basis and should be directed to the head of the KF team most directly related to your proposal. Only one proposal per applicant, please. The KF point of contact is responsible for creating the job description based on what’s submitted by the potential intern.

Each job description is subject to review by the leadership team, and should include:

  • Descriptive Title of Intern, Team name

  • Description: Help build better futures for open academic publishing with a thoughtfully remote, mission-driven team.

  • Location: Remote

  • Hours:

  • Duration:

  • Remuneration:

  • About the Job: Summarize the duties.

  • About the KFG:

    The Knowledge Futures Group, founded as a partnership between the MIT Press and the MIT Media Lab, is a non-profit institution that builds technology for the production, curation, and preservation of knowledge in service of the public good.

  • About the [Team/Product] (optional): A 2-3 sentences description of the team/product and its function within KF (example).

  • About You: A bulleted list describing an ideal candidate.

  • Working With Us:

    • Work with a thoughtfully distributed team: we were a remote team before it was a global necessity, and put a lot of effort into making the remote experience a great one. Learn more about how we work in our Handbook. Once it’s safe to travel and gather again, we’ll resume our roughly quarterly in-person team retreats at fun locations throughout the U.S.

    • Enjoy industry-standard perks with a team that prioritizes remote participation.

    • Contribute to our larger mission at the Knowledge Futures Group: we’re building a future where the infrastructure to create and access knowledge is controlled by people who serve the public interest, starting with core projects like PubPub and The Underlay. As a KFG team member, you’ll be able to contribute to those efforts as well, and we’ll support any ambitions you might have to publish in our journal, the Commonplace, and beyond.


KF hiring managers have tried several services for advertising job openings, with varying success.  The exigencies of promoting KF internship opportunities follow the best practices outlined in our hiring policy, with the following, internship-specific addenda.

  • To shape the KF internship program to best benefit students of all types, whether they are enrolled or unenrolled in a traditional institution of higher learning, internships will always be advertised through free-to-applicant channels for employment opportunities (e.g. LinkedIn), simultaneous to any postings made on university job boards. 

  • In addition to making these classified listings publicly available, KFG remains committed to the constant practice of cultivating direct relationships with institutions of higher learning and other non-profit organizations that make advancement possible for qualified, ambitious individuals at all levels: secondary school to continuing ed.! If you represent such an organization, searching out opportunities for partnership and growth, we hope you won’t hesitate to get in touch.

  • Although race will never be the basis of the awarding of internship funding or hiring decisions at KFG, information about an applicant’s race may be collected for affirmative action purposes and/or to track applicant flow. When this information is necessary, it will always be collected in a form functionally akin to the “tear-off sheet” prescribed by the United States EEOC, that enables us to review any race- or class-related information an applicant provides independently of information used to determine whether or not a person qualifies for a given opportunity.

Here is a list of resources for recruiting interns.

How Interns Apply

If you’re interested, or know people who might be, please send us an email with a resume or CV and a paragraph about what you’re interested in working on and we’ll be in touch!

We welcome interns from diverse backgrounds with diverse skillsets. If you have significant personal experience or engagement with low-income communities, international communities, or fields and languages that are underrepresented in academia, scholarly publishing, or open data, we strongly encourage you to apply.

If you feel like you could do a great job as an intern, please consider applying. And if you’re still hesitant after reading this bold text, send us a short note anyway with any questions you have!

Selection Process (trait-based interviewing with predefined questions w/ questions spelled out)

For internships, our goal is to make the application process simple and put the majority of the labor regarding job descriptions and selection on the KF staff member who is the internal lead for the proposed internship.

  • Screening: Did the applicant complete the hiring instructions? Does the experience on their resume match the experiences in the job description? Does their cover letter show a compelling, specific interest in the role?

  • Screener Interview: A 30-minute trait-based interview with questions that test for our six values, plus one skill question. (example)

  • Skills Interview: A 60- to 90-minute interview that tests for the specific skills needed to satisfactorily fill the role. For tech interviews, we typically ask candidates to perform a code review of one of our open-source repositories against a pre-defined rubric of responses (example).

  • Industry Interview: A 30-minute trait-based interview that tests for candidates’ interest in the industries, philosophies, technologies, and users served by the role. Additionally, this is an opportunity to re-test for any specific traits that are still a question mark after previous rounds. Re-tests should use approved, pre-prepared questions. (example)

*For more information on our hiring practices, see the KF Hiring Policy.

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