JSTOR is a multi-disciplinary journal archive and a platform for scholarly ebooks and primary sources. Archived journals date from the earliest issue published. Journals in the JSTOR Current Scholarship Collection include the most recent issues without an embargo.
Librarian Michael Handis summarizes JSTOR’s offerings saying that JSTOR is an online database archive of journal titles. JSTOR is not an aggregator database, such as LexisNexis and Business Source Complete, which reformat the information and may or may not include any images originally published. While known mostly for its backlist journals, JSTOR also has primary source content such as 19th-century British pamphlets, a Global Plant Collection, African Cultural Heritage Sites and Landscapes, and Struggles for Freedom in Southern Africa.
According to Bruce Heterick, vice president of Ithaka, JSTOR’s parent organization, JSTOR’s full text (except for books) is not searchable in library discovery services such as EBSCO EDS. However, they are considering making the full text searchable. Heterick wrote on Twitter in November 2013 that, while it’s clear that full-text improves # of results, not so clear on relevancy. Starting test in early ’14.
Unusually for a subscription database, JSTOR has special programs that allow individuals without institutional log-ins to access some of its material. Public domain JSTOR journals are also freely available from the Internet Archive. Click on the Access tab to learn more.
Quantitative research with data from JSTOR
Click on the Conversations tab in Beyond Citation and scroll down for case studies about doing quantitative analysis with data from JSTOR.
Date range: 1545-2014
Publisher About page: http://about.jstor.org/about
Object type: Books, Journals, Ephemera
Location of original materials: Multiple
Exportable image: Yes
Facsimile image: Yes
Full text searchable: No
Titles list links:
Digitized from microfilm: No
Roger C. Schonfeld. JSTOR: A History. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2003. Print.
Harvard research librarian Cheryl LaGuardia reviews the Archival Journals portion of JSTOR. JSTOR.
Click on WorldCat to see the library closest to you that has access to this database.
Access without an institutional subscription
Individuals may be able to get free, read-only access through the JSTOR Register & Read program. Participants in Register & Read may read articles online but may not download them.
While JSTOR historically required access via a public or academic library, unaffiliated scholars can now access the majority of JSTOR’s content by purchasing a JPASS. Through monthly or yearly subscriptions, JPASS users have unlimited access and viewing on the site. However, users have a limit on the number of articles that they are permitted to download.
Alumni of participating schools can access JSTOR through their alma mater.
Access to public domain content in JSTOR
Public domain JSTOR journals are freely available from the Internet Archive. According to the website, JSTOR Early Journal Content is a selection of journal materials published prior to 1923 in the United States and prior to 1870 elsewhere. It includes discourse and scholarship in the arts and humanities, economics and politics, and in mathematics and other sciences—nearly 500,000 articles from more than 200 journals.
JSTOR Early Journal Content is also freely available to registered users of JSTOR. Early Journal Content is updated regularly on JSTOR. JSTOR also makes Early Journal Content data freely available for text mining. JSTOR Data for Research includes full-text OCR and article and title-level metadata.
Interlibrary Loan, from JSTOR’s Terms & Conditions page:
Institutional Licensees may use Licensed Content that consists of Textual Content or Global Plants Content for Interlibrary Loan provided that such use is not at a volume that would substitute for a subscription to the journal or participation in JSTOR by the receiving institution and is in accordance with United States or international copyright laws, guidelines, or conventions. By way of example, Institutional Licensees shall comply with the CONTU Guidelines, available at http://www.cni.org/docs/infopols/CONTU.html unless the Institutional Licensee is subject to similar international guidelines or customary and usual practices regarding Interlibrary Loan. Transmission of Licensed Content that consists of Textual Content or Global Plants Content from one library to another (but not directly to users) through post or fax, or secure electronic transmission, such as Ariel or its equivalent, may be used in Interlibrary Loan. To facilitate direct contact with publishers for the provision of Textual Content outside the allowable scope of Interlibrary Loan or for other permissions, Publisher contact information is available at http://about.jstor.org/jstor-publishers.
Tutorials about using JSTOR.
How users search in JSTOR
Writing in Library Journal, Michael Kelley explains how users locate items such as journals in JSTOR by searching first in Google. A high percentage of the usage of many licensed electronic resources, such as JSTOR, is provided via discovery driven from Google and not a library-provided system.
According to Brooklyn College librarian Beth Evans’ report from an Ithaka conference, the number of JSTOR users has dropped as much as 50% with installations of new library “discovery” systems and changes in Google’s algorithms.
Pedagogy with JSTOR
Educator Alan Jacobs writes about the temptation to tell undergraduates to use only JSTOR and Project MUSE for research rather than facing the challenge of teaching information literacy across a range of resources. JSTOR’s Hidden Power.
Economics of JSTOR
Andrew Gray, librarian and Wikipedian, does a financial analysis of JSTOR’s income and expenses. After capital expenses for scanning, he estimates that 30% of income is paid to publishers, 10% for servers and 60% for staff and administrative expenses. JSTOR: where does your money go?
Examples of doing quantitative analysis with material from JSTOR
While analyzing data from JSTOR journals, Andrew Goldstone found significant errors in the data that was provided by JSTOR’s Data for Research service. Goldstone says, Producing good data for scholarship is an important responsibility of the scholarly community, not a bit of scutwork we can delegate to digital information companies (for-profit or non-profit) and then put out of mind. Do Not Despair, Do Not Presume .
Historian Ben Schmidt discusses the constraints that are placed on researchers by databases, including JSTOR, by virtue of their design in his blog post What historians don’t know about database design….
Computer scientist and classicist David Mimno mined the text of twenty-four journals of classical philology and archaeology using data from JSTOR. Computational historiography: Data mining in a century of classics journals.
Jefferson Pooley discusses his use of Google Books Ngram Viewer with JSTOR search and a search of the PsycARTICLES database to determine the historical frequency of terms related to the behavioral sciences. A “Not Particularly Felicitous” Phrase: A History of the “Behavioral Sciences” Label.
To cite online and electronic works, MLA style, see the guides at Research and Documentation Online, 5th edition, Diana Hacker.
Citing the digital
While digital resources are ubiquitous, comparatively few scholars cite them, preferring instead to cite the print version. Yet if digital sources are not cited, it is impossible for archives, university libraries, funders and other entities to know whether the collections are useful and should be expanded, or to make evidence-based arguments for future digitization of other materials. Jonathan Blaney of the Humanities Research Institute offers an egregious example of this, saying that 31 million page views of British History Online over a two-year period resulted in only 89 citations in Google Scholar and Scopus combined. Blaney asks scholars to embrace the principle—cite what you used.