Free (but Limited) Consultation of Articles on JSTOR

15/1/13 - Internet - Online journals - JSTOR (Journal STORage) is a digital library which holds over 1,400 scholarly journals on all subjects, archives and now also academic books (over 15,000 were posted last November), all managed by a non-profit American association. Thanks to a subscription, institutions such as universities, museums, and government or non-governmental organizations may access these resources online.
Though it explains that it is not seeking a profit, the site offers very high subscription fees which are not however available to businesses or private individuals. The latter may instead subscribe to the archives of just one or several precise titles, that is, and herein lies the subject of our article, have the right to consult up to three articles (in all) in most of the journals for free (but without downloading them), once every two weeks.

Let us take an example to make the offer as clear as possible. When writing our news item on the paintings recently acquired by the Metropolitan Museum, we wanted to find a photograph of the décor by Francesco Trevisani in the church of San Silvestro in Capite. We therefore looked on Google for Trevisani San Silvestro (without the quotation marks). The following results came up : Francesco Trevisani and the decoration of the Crucifixion with this link :
After clicking on the link, we arrived on the first page of an article published in 1971 in the Art Bulletin. At this point, the user needs to create an account on JSTOR, if he does not yet have one, and can then see the article online. Three articles may be read at the same time, each lodged on a virtual shelf where it can be replaced by a new one after two weeks. This facilitates the reading, though in reduced number, of articles published in journals such as, besides The Art Bulletin, Metropolitan Museum Studies, Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin, St. Louis Art Museum Bulletin, Artibus et Historiae, Bulleting of the Art Institute of Chicago, Burlington Magazine... In short, dozens and dozens of journals some of which are hard to find in France.

This free access tool for three articles every two weeks is still in the test stage and might be extended in the future. We hope this will indeed be the case as the price of buying individual articles is highly prohibitive : $12.50 for an article in the 1931 Burlington Magazine !
We would also like to point out that all the journals prior to 1923 can be consulted free of charge in the United States, but only those before 1870 (!) outside of this country [1].

Update of 15/1/2013 after publication : Finally (we would like to thank Udolpho van de Sandt for this information which we have verified), readers holding a Research card from the Bibliothèque nationale de France can have access to all of these online journals.

Version française

Didier Rykner, jeudi 17 janvier 2013


[1] The reason put forth is that the content published before 1923 now lies in the public domain in the United States but that in other countries (including France) this is only true most often seventy years after the death of the author and that they consider that an article published before 1870 can most likely be found there. This is another example proving the excess sometimes resulting from royalties.

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