JSTOR begins offering free but limited access to its online university library
The JSTOR online digital library will begin offering free access to its catalog of journals, articles and books. The Register & Read program will now allow individuals to register for the service, but members will only be able to read three items every two weeks. Users will also not be able to view the entire JSTOR library: free accounts will only have access to 1,200 journals from 700 publishers. In exchange for free access, users will be required to enter their personal information during registration which will be shared with JSTOR with its partners, giving them insight into who is reading specific documents.
Subscription to JSTOR is notoriously expensive and often limited to universities and libraries, so basic access is a welcome decision for those interested in academic articles. Some critics believe the resource should be free of restrictions, including former Reddit co-owner Aaron Swartz. The digital activist was accused of stealing 4.8 million documents from JSTOR using the MIT network in 2011, presumably with the intention of freely uploading them to the Internet. The case is still ongoing, but this – as well as the popularity of the Register & Read trial – clearly led JSTOR to rethink its access policy.