As part of ITHAKA, JSTOR’s mission is to improve access to knowledge and education for people around the world. As a not-for-profit, we partner with libraries, museums, and publishers to reduce costs, extend access, and preserve scholarship for the future. We do this because we believe in the power of knowledge to change the world for the better.

Free or low-cost access for low-income countries

Through the JSTOR Access Initiative program, we provide free or very low-cost access to more than 1,500 institutions in many nations. This is made possible through a combination of philanthropic support and the fees paid by libraries in other countries around the world, as well as publishers’ eagerness to support this work.


We understand that future accessibility to scholarship is essential. JSTOR pursues long-term preservation in several ways:

  • We work with experts to preserve the original print publications underlying the archives to keep them available for re-digitization and other unanticipated needs.
  • JSTOR creates digital content that can be readily converted to newer formats as they are developed in the future. To protect against loss, we have established redundant data centers each housing a complete copy of the JSTOR Digital Library. Digital files for the entire archive are also preserved using the approach and infrastructure developed by Portico.
  • In the extremely unlikely event that JSTOR should ever cease operations, funds may be transferred to a third-party steward to ensure the archives will continue to be preserved.

Open Access to Early Journal Content

All journal content in JSTOR published prior to 1924 in the United States and prior to 1876 elsewhere is freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world; we encourage broad use of this content.


JSTOR was conceived in 1994 by William G. Bowen, then-president of the Mellon Foundation, to help university and college libraries provide adequate space for an ever-increasing amount of published scholarship. Bowen’s solution: convert printed scholarly journals into electronic form and store them in a centralized digital archive. Participating libraries and their institutions could free physical space, reduce capital and other costs associated with collection storage, and vastly improve access to scholarly research.

In 1995, following a pilot launched under the direction of the University of Michigan, JSTOR was established as an independent not-for-profit organization. In 2009, JSTOR merged with and became a service of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that works to advance and preserve knowledge and to improve teaching and learning through the use of digital technologies.

JSTOR currently offers more than 12 million academic journal articles, 100,000 books, and millions of images and primary source materials in 75 disciplines. Start your research now.