March 16, 2018

Many JSTOR Journal Archives Now Free to Public

The archives of more than 1,200 journals are now available for limited free reading by the public, JSTOR announced today. Anyone can sign up for a JSTOR account and read up to three articles for free every two weeks.

This is a major expansion of the Register & Read program, following a 10-month test, during which more than 150,000 people registered for access to an initial set of 76 journals. The new additions bring more than 4.5 million articles from nearly 800 scholarly societies, university presses, and academic publishers into the Register & Read offerings.

JSTOR logo“Our goal is for everyone around the world to be able to use the content we have put online and are preserving,” said Laura Brown, JSTOR Managing Director. “We have a deep commitment to test new approaches that expand access, while also sustaining the JSTOR online library and preserving this content long into the future. Register & Read is still an experiment for us, but we are thrilled by its initial success and are excited about this next step in its development.”

The move follows others designed to increase access to JSTOR and other scholarly content for the unaffiliated: JSTOR already offers free access to public domain journal content, as well as free access for Wikipedia’s top 100 editors, and an alumni access program. Meanwhile, SAGE is offering alumni access at no additional charge. Udini, ProQuest’s solution for individual access, is also targeting the alumni audience.

Some have expressed concerns about Register & Read, on the scores of privacy and accessibility. JSTOR’s vice president of marketing and communications, Heidi McGregor, tells LJ that accessibility is not a concern: a screen reader will pick up text that asks visually impaired uses to contact JSTOR for a readable copy. McGregor also says JSTOR does not store any credit card information or sell personal information to anyone.

Meredith Schwartz About Meredith Schwartz

Meredith Schwartz ( is Executive Editor of Library Journal.

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  1. Anonymous (Don't prosecure me either, please)_ says:

    Thank you for dropping charges against Aaron Swartz.

    Now — why are you holding these government-funded no-market-value articles, many out of copyright, behind your paywall?

    Dripping out a little bit of crippled access is not what we are looking for.

  2. You do nothing but stop science. One day companies and people like you will not exist, and you will be remembered as nothing more than the people in the beginning of the internet age hoarding information.

  3. Too little, too late, JSTOR.

    It’s ridiculous that only individuals who pay tuition should have access to knowledge. It’s elitist.

    I can see why Aaron Swartz wanted to freely share the work of scholars with the public. It might not be legal but I support the effort to provide access for everyone to work that is often done at public expense (at state-supported universities).

    • Kurt Steinbach says:

      I paid tuition when I was in college, but not all articles were available to us, only what our University (of Memphis) could afford to subscribe to. If the article that I needed or wanted to use for a paper was not available to me, I could not read it and could not use it. I was in a teacher education program and could not access articles from Harvard, Yale, MIT, Princeton, Columbia (Teacher’s College), University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, Rutgers University, and other top institutions of higher learning. If you want to know why our public schools are not the best it is because our teachers do not have access to the best research and the best and most current knowledge to enable them to be the best. They have to pay for it, and a handsome price we have to pay at that. Capitalism is a system that holds people back from doing their best. It is a failed system. Any system that leaves millions of at the starving and homeless while those at the top have millions is a failed system that perpetuates failure, not success!

    • Kurt – I’m surprised to hear that you were only able to access what your particular university subscribed to. Did the University of Memphis not offer interlibrary loan? I’m a librarian at a small college with a limited budget for subscriptions but we offer our students access to books and articles from virtually any publication or collection by borrowing them from other libraries. Mostly from the larger institutions in our own state but also from the impressive collections at Harvard, Yale, MIT, etc. That is the beauty of libraries — the sharing of information and resources whenever possible.

    • Azido Anonymous says:

      We lost a Genius….The world will suffer this loss…and it is just because of those fools sitting on the pedestal and making money out of everything…..Wow JSTOR….A day will come when the whole world will be against u…..And im waiting for that day.

  4. The laws made in the United States against piracy, be it intellectual or Hollywood music giants throwing J Street lobbyists at the drafting of such laws are nonsensical, to start with. I believe in limited rights to those seeking (further) knowledge hidden behind these laws.
    Lucky for me, I have not received any summons from the major media for lifting there articles to be used on my blogs.
    I respect academic research and their value to the society. Either they do it or get hacked. Your choice.
    Government does it. DARPA is nothing but government funded program for young and creative hackers. Why not anyone complaining about it?
    CIA is known for all kinds of funny activities, including but not limited to hacking into foreign governments’ secret vaults. All kept super secret from us.
    How come?
    …and I am Sid

    • Kurt Steinbach says:

      It is piracy only if you intend to use the knowledge of others to enrich yourself monetarily. If you intend to use such information on your blog, the copyright law is clear, do not pass it iff as your own work; give credit where credit is due. If you intend to use knowledge as i do, to teach; then it is not a copyright violation if you give credit. If you intend to use the information to make money (i.e. for commercial purposes), then you need a license or to make a legal arrangement (pay for it)….

  5. Roger Morgan says:

    The “Register & Read” program is nearly worthless for research because it’s limited to articles more than 3 years old. You get to read a whopping 3 articles every 2 weeks (you can’t download them, just read them) and they are all guaranteed to be out-of-date, in fields where research is active.

  6. Leah Breen says:

    It’s awful that the struggle to increase internet freedom contributed to Aaron Swartz’s suicide:

    From the above BBC article on his death:
    After leaving Reddit, Mr Swartz became an advocate of internet freedom, and was facing hacking charges at the time of his death.

    He was among the founders of the Demand Progress campaign group, which lobbies against internet censorship. The hacking charges relate to the downloading of millions of academic papers from online archive JSTOR, which prosecutors say he intended to distribute for free.

    He denied charges of computer fraud at an initial hearing last year, but his federal trial was due to begin next month.

  7. “In its 133rd year of publication, Library Journal is the oldest and most respected publication covering the library field. Considered to be the “bible” of the library world”

    Respected? Ha. More like forced to use. Bible? Wow…watch out for the lightning strikes.

  8. Mike Brown says:

    The commenters are losing me when they crucify capitalism here. Yes, capitalism is to blame, but to the extent that people want to try to profit from the literature of the sciences, they should have the opportunity to do so. The injustice is that the academic journal publishers, and JSTOR in its complicity with them, have exclusive publication and distribution rights to this material—material which morally should be in the public domain. Regardless of whether profiteering content aggregators try to play gatekeeper, holding content for ransom, there should always be some other means for the general public to have unfettered access, including the right to read, use, republish, distribute, transform, and build upon the works in question.

  9. Too little too late!!

  10. A gimmick more than anything else. At a rate of 3 articles every 2 weeks, it would take more than 50000 years for JSTOR to release said 4.5 million articles.

  11. The fault lines are glaring. A “sop to Cerberus” Jstor is trying to guard the gates of the stockade of ignorance and should not have its intelligence overshaddowed by the darkside. It does have the ability to do the right thing.

  12. Thank you for taking efforts to expand access to scientific knowledge. However, making, “up to three articles for free every two weeks” doesn’t quite fit my research process–and will only marginally supplement other sources. I look forward to the day that all scientific literature produced by humans is available for all humans.

  13. The headline here is misleading, and some journalists are running with it. Register and Read is a welcome but very limited development. If I can read three articles in a week, is the journal archive “open” to me? Here’s an example, from,1 :

    “By the way, two days before Swartz killed himself, JSTOR made its archives available to the public, free of charge.”

    This statement includes a link to the LJ article.

  14. Government for the people is certainly not the present situation. Trillions of U$ spent yearly on invasion wars with extremely toxic depleted uranium ammo, but no money left to bring the library of congress and research journals to unlimited free internet access. What we have now is government for the 1% of the 1%. No representation for the rest, the 99.99%. The founders of this country are turning in their graves. This is the political vacuum allowing jstor’s existence and M.O. The crushing of outstanding citizens like Aaron Swartz and Bradley Manning as examples to impose censorship of government’s wrongdoing on the people will end. Shame on Obama and his 4th reich police state. Impeach congress! Long live the american spring!

  15. Please sign the petition to “Investigate the possible abuse of power by US District Attorney Carmen Ortiz and others in the Aaron Swartz case”:

  16. Wow JSTOR!

    I can’t imagine this has absolutely nothing to do with backlash from the MIT/JSTOR downloading “scandal” involving Aaron Schwartz.

    Information is power and as consumers we are losing the battle for free access to current and leading research. Until the issue of research ownership is addressed, we will be forced to siphon information through huge vendor tanks at a costly price or accept rationed generosity like this.

  17. Billy Markland says:

    If I’m looking at the copyright law correctly, JSTOR is gving up practically nothing that is not already in the public domain as articles first published or registered in the U.S. prior to 1923 have had their copyrights expire.