JStor has taken a few steps over the years to counter this perception: it began giving away access in Africa in 2006, and in other poor parts of the world in 2008. Last summer it made old, out-of-copyright articles available for free. But none of those efforts was as far-reaching as the new program, which JStor calls “Register & Read.”
The titles being liberated in the new program come in a range of disciplines—examples include the American Journal of Botany, which is published by the Botanical Society of America; the Journal of Law and Criminology, published by Northwestern University; Film Quarterly, from the University of California; and Proceedings: Biological Sciences, from the Royal Society.
JStor cautions that Register & Read will be an experiment. If it doesn’t work for the scholarly societies and other organizations that own the content that JStor makes available online, Register & Read might have to be scaled back or modified, JStor’s leaders say. But Guthrie told TR that overall, JStor and academic publishers had reached a point where it was wise to try creative methods of enabling access. A scholarly society might now lose out on $30 sales of journal articles but find that widening the exposure to those articles increases their dues-paying memberships. “We all have to disrupt ourselves,” he said.