Jisc/JSTOR deal brings free access to digital collections

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Not-for-profit ITHAKA, the organisational home for the JSTOR platform, and the UK education and technology not-for-profit, Jisc, have agreed to a pioneering initiative that will allow institutions to make their digital special collections freely available to millions of researchers, faculties, and students around the globe.

The partnership gives UK higher education institutions (HEIs) the opportunity to add their digitised content to JSTOR’s Open Community Collections programme, which enables libraries, museums, and cultural organisations around the world to bring together their materials, creating an unparalleled free resource for teaching and research.

Stephen Brooks, Jisc’s digital content product manager, said: 'We are delighted to have struck this agreement with JSTOR at a time when digital content is more important than ever for research, teaching and learning. The Open Community Collections initiative provides an opportunity to leverage institutions’ own digitised collections through JSTOR, which is one of the most widely used scholarly platforms in the world.'

Digital collections of primary sources and archival material have a strong impact on research and education, especially when academics can freely and easily access the content, and even more so when that content is connected directly to secondary book and journal literature that provides context.

Bruce Heterick, ITHAKA’s SVP for open collections and infrastructure, offered: 'The JSTOR platform has been a starting point for UK faculty and students doing research – particularly in the humanities and social sciences – for the past two decades.  Providing a channel for institutions to get their primary source and special collections more meaningfully into the research workflow, and out of their current silos, is the key in unlocking the research and teaching impact of those collections. This initiative will help institutions to raise their profile by disclosing their special collections for free not only to scholars and students in the UK, but to millions of researchers around the world.'

Jisc members currently sharing their collections on JSTOR include the National Library of Scotland, University College London, University of Manchester, and University of Sussex. Any Jisc member can propose one or more of their digitised collections for inclusion in the scheme by responding to the call for participation by Monday 30 November, 2020.