In an effort to enhance access options for people who aren’t affiliated with universities, colleges, or high schools, not-for-profit digital library JSTOR has launched JPASS, a new program offering individual users access to 1,500 journals from JSTOR’s archive collection. The move follows the March 2012 launch of JSTOR’s Register & Read program, which allowed independent researchers to register for a free MyJSTOR account, and receive free, online-only access to three full-text articles every 14 days. That service has since attracted almost one million users including independent scholars, writers, business people, adjunct faculty, and others, and JSTOR plans to continue offering the service in its current form. However, in a recent survey, many of Register & Read users expressed interest in an individual subscription model that would offer enhanced access, encouraging JSTOR to move ahead with JPASS.
“With Register and Read, you can read three articles online every two weeks for free, and for a lot of people, that’s great…. Other people really need to be able to download [articles], they need to be able to read more extensively,” said Heidi McGregor, VP of Marketing and Communications for Ithaka, the parent organization of JSTOR.
Base fees for JPASS are $19.50 per month, or $199 annually per individual. Discounts are currently available for existing Register & Read users, as well as members of scholarly societies whose journals are included in the JPASS collection, according to a JSTOR announcement.
JPASS subscribers have unlimited online-only access to a larger collection of JSTOR journals than Register & Read members, as well as the authorization to download 10 articles per month, saving these articles for future use even if their JPASS subscription expires. Subscribers will also have the ability to save, tag, and export citations, and set up personal alerts for specific search terms or journals.
The program is also designed to recognize JSTOR subscriptions from any institution a JPASS subscriber is a member of, and to remember a user’s history, even if a monthly subscription lapses and is later renewed. For example, if an adjunct professor with sporadic access to a university’s library collection allowed her JPASS subscription to lapse, JSTOR would retain information about that user’s previously downloaded content so that a subscription is later renewed, she would still be able to re-download that content without it counting against her 10 article limit.
“The program is designed in a way that doesn’t allow you to decrement your account twice,” McGregor said. “If you’ve downloaded an article in January, and you go back to the same article later, we hold that data for you, so that you don’t ‘pay twice’ for the same article.”
Similarly, if a JPASS user is logged on at a university library or other institutional JSTOR subscriber, the system will not count downloads against their JPASS subscription.
“As long as you’re on campus and logged into [the campus] IP network, we’ll recognize you and combine your access credentials. Anything your library has licensed for you, you access in an unlimited way. Those download limits would only apply to things that are part of your JPASS holdings that we do not recognize as being provided by your library.”
The combined credentials feature was important, McGregor said, because despite this new offering for individual researchers, “We’re continuing to focus on expanding access through libraries—public, school, higher ed—as much as we can, even as we’re launching this program.”