JSTOR and Access to Content

JSTOR and Access to Content

Given our readings this week and our discussion about gated content – it’s interesting to see JSTOR responding to the needs of an individual researcher. The Register & Read program gives limited (very limited) ¬†access to articles – three online-only, per month. It seems that in response to users, JSTOR has decided to expand on access for individual users with the JPASS.

Unwilling to divest themselves of income, of course, the JPASS program costs money ($19.50 a month or $199 per year)

While it is a far cry from the amounts that institutions pay, what do we think about the economic barrier this creates for individual scholars? A number of us had a scary realization in Colloquium – suppose we complete our degrees but are unable to secure full-time positions? How can we continue to maintain a level of scholarship without access to documents and resources locked behind paywalls? JSTOR seems to be responding to some of those concerns here, but falls short of full open access.

4 thoughts on “JSTOR and Access to Content”

  1. I think $200 is still quite the financial hurdle to get across for us, especially if we are unemployed. JSTOR seems to be trying to appease, but they’re definitely not willing to give up that money.

  2. I was pleased when I heard this news. $200 a year is steep, yes, particularly for young researchers unaffiliated with an institution. At the same time, it is roughly what I pay for my educator’s subscription to the New York Times each year (which includes print and digitial access) and about what it would cost for me to have monthly subscriptions to a few important (but “commercial”) arts publications, like ArtForum and Art in America (again, print and digital access). If anything, this seems to be in line with a business model that we (historically, anyway) have accepted as basically fair. Magazines and newspapers are struggling, as we know, so this may not be more than some sort of midway compromise, but it does seem to strike a balance that may work for more people than JSTOR’s prior model.

    1. I can really see both sides of this – on the one hand… JSTOR is recognizing the need to reduce barriers to accessing knowledge (something few of these academic aggregators seem to do). On the other hand, the model continues to privilege people with access to specific social (or institutional) networks. [Caveat: this is a hot-button issue in my field – in which deaf people serve as subject of academic writing, but frequently operate outside of the social networks in which these articles are exchanged – and something I am still wrestling with]

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