April 20, 2024

JSTOR Launches JPASS Access Accounts for Individual Researchers


JSTOR logoIn 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.”

Matt Enis About Matt Enis

Matt Enis (menis@mediasourceinc.com; @matthewenis on Twitter) is Associate Editor, Technology for Library Journal.


  1. Martyn Everett says:

    JSTOR should be free to access for all non-academic readers. Not only because much of the research accessed via JSTOR is publicly funded, but because of the fair use provision contained in copyright legislation. Free access via public libraries would not be difficult or expensive to provide. We need to pull down the barriers that make access to educational materials a privilege for only a few – it would be the prelude to a new Renaissance.

  2. “Pei X says:
    September 25, 2013 at 12:45 am

    You are totally right. Academic is not a business.”

    Probably better to say ‘Academic should not be a business’ because it has already sold itself out to the highest bidders over the past 20 years or so.

  3. to learn more:JSTOR (pronounced JAY-stor; short for Journal Storage) is a digital library founded in 1995. Originally containing digitized back issues of academic journals, it now also includes books and primary sources, and current issues of journals. It provides full-text searches of almost 2,000 journals.More than 8,000 institutions in more than 160 countries have access to JSTOR; most access is by subscription, but some older public domain content is freely available to anyone, and in 2012 JSTOR launched a program providing limited no-cost access to old articles for individual scholars and researchers who register.

  4. JSTOR was initiated in 1995 at seven different library sites, and originally encompassed ten economics and history journals. JSTOR access was improved based on feedback from its initial sites, and it became a fully searchable index accessible from any ordinary Web browser. Special software was put in place to make pictures and graphs clear and readable

  5. Free access via public libraries would not be difficult or expensive to provide. We need to pull down the barriers that make access to educational materials a privilege for only a few – it would be the prelude to a new Renaissance

  6. Yes, it should be free. But JSTOR isn’t the culprit. It’s the academic publishers who won’t allow this to happen. They’re quite happy with the current model: get academics to write research for free, get academics to review the articles for free and then they publish a journal at an inflated price and expect universities and JSTOR to cough up the subscription fees, fees that are passed on to students in their tuition fees. As far as I’m aware, JSTOR’s prices are fixed by the publishers (please correct me if I’m wrong).

  7. Than you SOOOOOO much!

  8. JPASS seems rather lame to me. When I list the journals available (at least in business: http://jpass.jstor.org/collections?field_public_title_value=&field_first_subject_reference_nid_1=2363&field_publisher_nid=All&field_date_range_s_nid=All), they don’t have many of the most highly read journals, and even the journals they have are limited to 2010 or even earlier for access. Access to non-leading, out-of-date journal articles is hardly worth paying for.