“But now, in an attempt to extend solidarity during the coronavirus crisis, JSTOR has announced free access to over 6,000 books and 150 journals. Great news, right? Except it’s not. Twitter users have pointed out that JSTOR has not released any essay that was under paywall; instead, it is just replugging those articles and papers that users already had open access to.
Essentially, JSTOR has simply tried to score brownie points on the back of a deadly virus that has claimed more than 10,000 lives globally. But then, the archival site is not known to be particularly kind to people.
Just for perspective, JSTOR has been unable to bring itself to give academics and researchers open access to ‘publicly sourced’ content at a time when the whole world is under quarantine and going through an unprecedented and unnatural crisis. Then again, it’s also a time to get on the bandwagon and be appreciated for doing nothing….”
“As JSTOR begins to reach people who would normally have not accessed articles in its database, Pfefferkorn said she hopes to see JSTOR acknowledge the ties between the current situation and what Swartz was trying to do. …”
“A previous version of this article incorrectly implied that JSTOR had made its database accessible to the public for the first time. In fact, only certain materials from its database are available to the public, and this has been the case for some time. The headline, subheading and body of this article have been updated to reflect this information.
Online academic resource JSTOR has clarified that much of its database is accessible to the public, amid the widespread closure of universities across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic….”
“In 2017, JSTOR received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to investigate processes for digitizing Arabic-language scholarly content. Our goal in the project was to develop a workflow for scanning Arabic materials–especially journals– that is reasonably cost-efficient, feasible to implement at scale, and likely to produce high-quality images and metadata, including fully searchable text….
Through this investigation, we concluded that, using new metadata guidelines and OpenITI’s software, and leveraging specific workflows created jointly with Apex, it is possible for JSTOR to digitize Arabic language journals with the high-degree of accuracy needed to support search and discovery at a cost of approximately $3 per page, with the promise that this per page cost could be reduced further through continuous improvements in the OCR software engine. In this white paper, we contextualize our investigation in the broader landscape of digital scholarly literature in Arabic. We then document our approach and findings from this project, which took place over 20 months from April 2017 through December 2018. And finally, we lay out some areas we identified for potential further research….”
“Often, “big idea” academic projects create high expectations for major change, generate enthusiasm and funding, and yet ultimately fail to deliver on their promised benefits. I recently stumbled on a case where that didn’t happen: the JSTOR Labs and Columbia University Libraries collaboration on the Reimagining the Monograph (RTM) project, which led to the relatively rapid creation of the TopicGraph prototype tool. As figure 1 shows, TopicGraph’s interface has monograph topics arranged in order of importance on the left (for quick scrolling), with key phrases and words highlighted in the text on the right. The interface, even in beta form, simply looks obvious. It looks almost ridiculously obvious — like iPhone-swipe-gesture obvious or peanut-butter-and-chocolate obvious — raising the question: Why hasn’t this been done before?…
The goal was to do more and get more value from the existing monographic infrastructure. Through this focus, the team landed on a particular research question or, in the parlance of design thinking, a testable hypothesis: In the transition to digital, what print-specific benefits might have been lost for readers of scholarly monographs? The team also pondered a companion question: What digital affordances might not yet have been tapped to enhance the use of digital monographs? …”
“We [Bristol Universityh Press] offer a range of flexible open access options for both journals and book publishing which continue to evolve, and we are always interested in working with our authors to explore new ideas.
Abstract: This article provides an overview of open access publishing and its emergence in the arts. Open access scholarship, which is online, free for users to access, and free of most licensing restrictions, has enjoyed numerous successes in the sciences and is gaining widespread attention in the humanities and social sciences. Its presence in the arts, however, has been marginal. The author examines the various reasons for the problematic reception of open access publishing in image-rich disciplines like art history, highlights notable open access projects, and explores their potential impact on art librarianship.
“This document is a report prepared for the JSTOR Presses project “Exploring Usage of Open Access Books via the JSTOR Platform”. JSTOR’s Open Access Books platform launched in October 2016. The first four publishers to submit content to the platform were UCL Press, University of Michigan Press, Cornell University Press and California University Press. Usage of the OA books made available via JSTOR by these publishers has been far in excess of the usage that each publisher has previously recorded via other distribution channels. This report is the outcome of research commissioned and funded by the four presses. It engages with usage data made available by JSTOR relating to OA books in order to assist publishers in understanding how their OA content is being used; inform strategic decision making by individual presses in the future; and shed light on the potential for data relating to the uses of OA books to support the potential of open access books to reach wide audiences. Additional key aims of the research are to help inform JSTOR in the development of the JSTOR OA Books platform; and to inform the development of JSTOR usage reporting. Ensuring that JSTOR usage reporting reflects the needs of OA publishers is also an important goal of the project. All four publishers have contributed to a discussion of the role and practicalities of usage reporting services provided by JSTOR. The project focuses primarily on data collected by JSTOR and made available to the research team for the purposes of this study. The data considered in the report relates to the period between 12 August 2015 and 7 August 2017. This data has been augmented by a short questionnaire and interviews, carried out by phone with some of the publishers. It is important to note that books considered in this report became available via the JSTOR platform at different times. Some of the books included in the data set are also available in both OA and gated formats via the JSTOR platform.”
“Digital scholarly book files should be open and flexible. This is as much a design question as it is a business question for publishers and libraries. The working group returned several times to the importance of scholarly book files being available in nonproprietary formats that allow for a variety of uses and re-uses…. Another pointed out that the backlist corpus of scholarly books in the humanities and social sciences is an invaluable resource for text-mining, but the ability to carry out that research at scale means that the underlying text of the books has to be easy to extract. “It’s so important to be able to ‘scrape’ the text,” one participant said, using a common term for gathering machine-readable characters from a human-readable artifact (for example, a scanned page image)….Whether a wider group of publishers and technology vendors will feel that they can enable these more expansive uses of a book file without upending the sustainability of the scholarly publishing system is a larger question than this project sought to answer….Our working group also pointed to other challenges for the future of the monograph that have little to do with its visual representation in a user interface: for example, what might be a viable long-term business model for monographs, and whether a greater share of the publishing of monographs in a free-to-read, open-access model can be made sustainable….As interest continues to grow in extending the open-access publishing model from journals to scholarly books, publishers and librarians are working to understand better the upfront costs that must be covered in order to operate a self-sustaining open-access monograph publishing program—costs that have been complicated to pin down because the production of any given scholarly book depends on partial allocations of staff time from many different staff members at a press, and different presses have different cost bases, as well….”