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JSTOR ( Journal STORage ) is a New York City- based non-profit organization . It operates a paid online archive with selected specialist journals and academic books, as well as source collections. The texts used to be brought into electronic form by means of retro-digitization ( e-text ), more recently they have been made digitally available directly by the publishers. As a rule, university libraries provide enrolled students free of charge.


JSTOR offers a full text search for digitized scientific publications. The texts are available as full text and full image in PDF , TIFF or Postscript format. The database (as of September 2019) contains 2,600 journal titles, 70,000 books from academic publishers and 2 million scanned primary sources. The oldest journal available is the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society from 1665.

JSTOR is mainly accessed through libraries, universities and publishers. These institutions pay licenses so that their readers, students and employees can access JSTOR over the Internet. Search engine users can also access a journal article via a bridge , the first page of which is free. Individual subscriptions for individual journal titles are available through the relevant journal publisher at JSTOR. In total, more than 9,000 institutions participate in JSTOR, including more than 3,900 US institutions. In Germany, over 200 partners (mostly university libraries) have access to JSTOR. 35 institutions in Austria and 50 in Switzerland have access to the offer.

JSTOR resolves a conflict with magazine publishers and their commercial interests through the so-called "movable wall" (sliding threshold), a time lag between the current issue and the last issue available from JSTOR. This gap is stipulated in an agreement between JSTOR and the publisher and is between one and five years. If a publisher wants to put his editions on the Internet himself (see electronic magazine ), he can change the movable wall into a so-called "fixed wall", after which a fixed date JSTOR is no longer authorized to add new editions to its database.


William G. Bowens, President of Princeton University and President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation , devised and initiated a research project on magazine digitization in the spring of 1994. The aim of the project was to counter the magazine crisis that many libraries had faced since the 1980s. The libraries could hardly afford their printed magazine collections due to the increasing number of titles and a lack of shelf space (archive). Digitizing these titles should enable libraries to outsource the holdings of these journals inexpensively in the course of long - term archiving . In August, the University of Michigan Foundation donated US $ 700,000 to allow programmers and librarians to develop software and purchase suitable hardware to make magazine articles and high-resolution images available over computer networks. In December, the Foundation gave the university an additional US $ 1,500,000 to make it possible to scan ten issues of key historical and economic science journals published before 1990 (approx. 750,000 pages). The files were also read out using OCR software (ASCII) to make them searchable for search engines. This database was made available on a test basis by the University of Michigan and Princeton University (Mirror) to five other libraries. The full-text search via a network access (in addition to the synergy effects of the libraries) opened up new work opportunities and research areas for scholars, increased the response and access enormously and was recognized by the academic and library public. After the success of the project, the database was expanded. In August 1995, JSTOR became a non-profit organization. The archive has been offered to libraries since January 1997 - for an unlimited period of time.

Some libraries also outsource their journal volumes to their archives, although they are also available at JSTOR. However, many libraries without subscriptions to the printed volumes were able to give their readers access to the digital copies. A space-saving service became an access service. Digitization increased the use of articles and caused the libraries' copy service to collapse drastically.

In January 2009, JSTOR and the American NPO Ithaka, which supports charitable companies in digitization, announced their merger.

In September 2011, JSTOR announced that public domain content published in the United States before 1923 and in other countries before 1870 could be freely used worldwide. Using the advanced search, it is possible to display only those articles from the Early Journal Content that can be called up by the respective user.

Document download by Aaron Swartz

In July 2011, the American copyright activist Aaron Swartz was arrested. He was accused of having connected his laptop to the MIT network without permission and thus used the institute's access to JSTOR to download over four million documents between September 2010 and January 2011. Since the bulk of these documents had been funded by university and other public funds, he believed that they belonged to the public. He was released after bail was given. If convicted, he could face up to 35 years in prison. The trial was scheduled for April 2013. But that did not, for Swartz committed suicide in January 2013. suicide .

One day after Swartz's arrest, an unknown user posted nearly 19,000 scientific documents from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society , which were stored at JSTOR, at The Pirate Bay . According to the file description, he wanted to protest against JSTOR taking money for these documents, even though they should be in the public domain . The texts in question were published between the 17th century and the early 20th century (before 1923). Although this publication is linked to Swartz, Swartz had asserted that he had not published or copied any documents and that the documents had previously been secured from him.


Criticism of JSTOR is sparked by the high cost of accessing the service. This is why very few educational institutions have access to JSTOR.

In Germany, only a small part of the JSTOR magazine package can be accessed within the framework of national licenses. The licensing was originally opposed by the fact that JSTOR, as an “aggregator” itself, does not own any rights to the respective works that could be acquired under the national license. The contents were made available in 2008 through a special funding measure by the DFG for aggregator databases for the period 2009–2013.

similar offers

After the Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO), a web portal for images of works of art, set up by a consortium led by the Getty Foundation , was closed in 2005, ARTstor was launched as a sister organization of JSTOR with a similar subscription model. ARTstor has access to various image databases and has more than two million images (as of October 2009).

In Germany, DigiZeitschriften is to build a counterpart to JSTOR with the support of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels , the collecting society Wort and the collecting society Bild-Kunst .

Project MUSE , a project by Johns Hopkins University Press (JHUP) and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at Johns Hopkins University, began offering online subscriptions to its journals in 1995. In 2000, Project MUSE added magazines from other publishers to its offering. Today (as of May 2007) the project offers over 300 magazines from 60 publishers in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

A selection of French-language academic journals is freely accessible via the Persée online portal .


  • Roger C. Schonfeld: JSTOR: A History , Princeton University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-691-11531-1
  • Roger C. Schonfeld: JSTOR: a case study in the recent history of scholarly communications , Program: electronic library and information systems, 2005, 39/4, pages 337-344, doi: 10.1108 / 00330330510627953
  • S. Hagenhoff, D. Hogrefe, E. Mittler, M. Schumann, G. Spindler, V. Wittke: A case study study (PDF; 1.1 MB), JSTOR page 109ff, Göttinger Schriften zur Internetforschung, Volume 4, Universitätsverlag Göttingen, 2007, ISBN 978-3-938616-75-8
  • Matthias Töwe: Concept study E-Archiving (PDF), JSTOR page 115ff, Consortium of Swiss University Libraries , Zurich, 2005, doi: 10.3929 / ethz-a-004990905

Web links


  1. What's in JSTOR, accessed September 2, 2019.
  2. JSTOR Participating International Institutions, Germany ( Memento from January 16, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  3. JSTOR The Movable Wall ( Memento from June 7, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  4. UM receives grant for digital library ( Memento January 15, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), University of Michigan News Service, December 19, 1994
  5. Frederick J. Friend: Book Review (Schonfeld). Looking from the Past to the Future , PLoS Biol 2 (1), doi: 10.1371 / journal.pbio.0020010
  6. Kevin M Guthrie: Revitalizing Older Published Literature: Preliminary Lessons from the Use of JSTOR ( Memento August 30, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF), PEAK Conference. March 23, 2000
  7. Robert S. Seeds: Impact of a digital archive (JSTOR) on print collection use , Collection Building, Sep 2002, 21/3, pp. 120-122, doi: 10.1108 / 01604950210434551
  8. ^ Ithaka and JSTOR Merge, Uniting Efforts to Serve the Scholarly Community ( Memento of March 6, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), ithaka.org, Announcements, January 25, 2009
  9. ^ Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in World. In: JSTOR. September 6, 2011, archived from the original on September 23, 2011 ; accessed on September 10, 2011 .
  10. Early Journal Content: FAQs. In: JSTOR. September 6, 2011, archived from the original on September 24, 2011 ; accessed on September 10, 2011 .
  11. ^ A b Werner Pluta: 4 million documents: Aaron Swartz charged with data theft . Golem.de . July 20, 2011. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
  12. Werner Pluta: In protest: Almost 19,000 scientific documents at The Pirate Bay . Golem.de . July 21, 2011. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
  13. SUB Göttingen: Further perspectives of the supraregional literature supply with digital information: Special funding measure aggregator databases and "Knowledge Exchange" . In: nationallianzen.de: About national licenses: DFG funded licenses for electronic media. Further measures . Last changed on January 9, 2012. Accessed on December 19, 2012 (the Integrum database for the period 2009-2018 was also made available as part of the same program).
  14. ARTstor.org