Dear friends and colleagues,

I’m writing to share some personal news with you, and all of JSTOR’s participating libraries and publishers. I’ve made the decision to retire from my role as Managing Director of JSTOR and will be stepping into a new part-time role as Senior Advisor for ITHAKA this month.

I have had a wonderful career in publishing, and over the past 40 years have been fortunate to help lead two great organizations – Oxford University Press USA and JSTOR/ITHAKA, both at the center of scholarship and education. It seems amazing to me now that I’ve been with ITHAKA for 20 of those years in one capacity or another, first on the JSTOR board beginning in 2000, then helping to give birth to Ithaka S+R, and finally taking over the leadership of JSTOR 10 years ago. I’m very proud of what JSTOR/ITHAKA, working together with all of you, has been able to accomplish during that time!

Reflecting on my past decade at JSTOR, with your support we’ve made significant strides in delivering on ITHAKA’s mission to expand access to knowledge. Today, JSTOR serves researchers and learners at more than 11,000 academic libraries, secondary schools, research organizations and NGOs, and public libraries in 170 countries. At the same time, we’ve grown to include the works of nearly 3,000 publishers, museums, universities, and research institutes. We also  have worked to transform the discovery and use of scholarly monographs through Books at JSTOR; provided access at no charge to more than 9 million independent researchers through our free-to-read program; created a front door to the great scholarship we steward through JSTOR Daily (now approaching 5 million annual visitors); built an innovation team in JSTOR Labs where we and our community can experiment with next generation ideas; dramatically expanded the range of content available by adding research literature from prominent think tanks as well as bringing Artstor and Reveal Digital into the family; and are accelerating access to primary source documents through our new Open Community Collections initiative, which enables libraries to make their special collections openly available on JSTOR. I am grateful to have worked with a remarkable group of people here and to have been a part of these and other initiatives that have contributed to the transformation of scholarship and education over the last decade.

I am leaving JSTOR in great hands. Kevin Guthrie, JSTOR’s founding president and current president of ITHAKA, has been a tremendous collaborator and partner with me over the years and will continue to provide oversight and strategic guidance for JSTOR from his position as ITHAKA’s president.  Rather than replace my position, our senior leadership team for JSTOR, including Bruce Heterick, SVP of Open Collections & Infrastructure; Rebecca Seger, VP of Outreach & Participation Services; Matt MacQueen, VP of Product; and John Lenahan, Associate VP of Books and Journals, together with our recently hired COO, Nathalie Udo, and the rest of our leadership team, will continue working together to manage JSTOR going forward.

As we navigate through this challenging moment for the world,  I’m proud of what we are doing collectively to serve researchers and students; and in the longer term, when we are on the other side of what will surely be a changed world, I am confident that our community of libraries, publishers and contributors will continue to innovate to broaden access and lower the cost of education for all. I will be cheering all of you on in that enterprise.


Laura Brown