ITHAKA’s mission is to expand and enhance access to knowledge and education for people all over the world. As a not-for-profit organization, our aim is for our policies and decisions to maximize impact, not revenue or profit. At the onset of the pandemic in 2020, we promised that fees would not increase for JSTOR participants through 2023. We also introduced a year-long program that provided participating academic institutions with access to all Archive Collections at no additional cost. Since then, we extended that program for another year, and to date nearly 5,000 institutions have taken advantage of it; their students and faculty have downloaded or read articles from these previously unlicensed collections more than 70 million times. At the same time, we have been able to continue to provide consistent revenue sharing to our publisher partners who have also been impacted by the pandemic and are essential to the work we do.
Consistent with our mission-driven aspirations, and considering the current public health, economic, and political environment, we have decided to extend the expanded access program to participating higher education institutions for a third year, through June 2023. We believe that continuing to offer the maximum level of access to JSTOR is one of the best ways ITHAKA can serve the world during these difficult times.
Extending our expanded access program is a response to world events, but it is also a recognition of the opportunity to maximize the impact JSTOR can offer. Providing access to all journal archive content to participating institutions over the last two years has generated enormous educational benefits, and continuing that level of access feels imperative to fulfilling our mission. In that light, we are working on ways to make this level of access a permanent part of the JSTOR offering, including developing a new fee structure for our archive collections. As when we first developed our Archive Collection fee model using Carnegie Classifications, and when we developed low-cost and free access programs for various parts of the world, we are now considering how best to define and reflect the value that different institutions receive from JSTOR participation while recognizing the economic disparities that exist among them. We are also striving to better align library contributions with our costs, which are driven less by the quantity of content and more by maintaining and improving the JSTOR platform and experience to support research, teaching, and learning.
We have found that developing and implementing a new structure aligned with our mission is complicated and will take considerable time. The framework we currently depend on has been effective for more than two decades; processes and expectations have been built around it, for institutions, libraries, publishers, and for ITHAKA. There are complex interests to balance among literally thousands of institutions to ensure that we can maximize access and impact while supporting content providers and sustaining our work over the long term.
We will continue to consult with publishers, libraries, and users in the coming months as we work to adapt JSTOR’s fee structure to align with our mission in a changing information environment. We understand that predictability and knowing the future impact on library spending and expected revenue-sharing with publishers is important, and we will keep you apprised of what we are learning and our decisions over the course of this year.
If your institution has already opted in to the JSTOR access program, you don’t need to take any action. Eligible institutions that have not yet opted in may still do so; please log in to your JSTOR library admin account to request expanded access.
Kevin Guthrie, ITHAKA President