Path to Open is a community-supported model to publish scholarly ebooks in the humanities and social sciences sustainably and equitably.

As part of nonprofit ITHAKA, JSTOR shares a mission with libraries and presses to bring about equitable access and impact for the entire scholarly community. This is why we are collaborating with university presses on Path to Open, a new, multi-year pilot program designed to increase access to diverse ideas and research. It offers sustainable open access solutions, supports the nonprofit university press community, and invests in authors and their scholarship, increasing the impact of their work.

  • What is the maximum number of university presses JSTOR is looking to secure to participate in the Path to Open pilot?
    We have exceeded our original goal of at least 30 university presses to participate prior to launch in October 2023, and we continue to work with publishers interested in joining the program. Our goal is to support all university presses interested in joining, but during the course of the pilot, we plan to limit this to 50 publishers.
    • What are the minimum and maximum number of titles a university press can contribute to the pilot each year?
      It will depend on the number of publishers that join the program, as our target is 300 titles to be published each year after the initial launch year in 2023. Based on feedback from publishers, there was an expressed desire to provide titles in ranges of 5-15 each year. We are not setting a minimum number of titles, as we understand that the number of titles published may vary each year and some smaller publishers may not be able to meet the requirement.
      • Are there requirements to the publication/copyright year date that can be published in this program?
        JSTOR will accept titles based on the copyright year in the current calendar year they are published for the first time. If the copyright year is later than the current calendar year, the title will be released in the calendar year that aligns to the copyright year.
        • When will a title published in Path to Open be made available as an open access title to the public?
          There will be a three-year embargo to titles published in this program prior to them becoming open access. For example, a title released with a 2023 copyright year released in the 2023 calendar year will become open access and available to all users on any supporting platform in January of 2026.
          • When can a university press expect to get paid for titles that are published in the Path to Open program?
            JSTOR will pay each publisher $5,000 per title published in the program by March 31 of the following calendar year the title was published in. For example, a title with a 2023 copyright year released in the 2023 calendar year will be paid by March 31, 2024.
            • How are published titles made available to libraries under the Path to Open model?
              Institutions will be required to pay an annual subscription fee to be able to access the current copyright year the publishers release in Path to Open each year, in addition to the titles that have not yet converted to open access.
              • When should a university press register titles for inclusion in the program? Will there be a deadline?
                Starting in the 2024 calendar year and forward, we are asking publishers to submit any title they know will be published in a specific calendar year and with rights cleared to submit the title at either the end of August or the end of November, prior to the upcoming publication year with a final opportunity to submit titles by the end of February in the calendar year they are published.
                • What is the workflow for submitting titles for inclusion to Path to Open?

                  Publishers provide books for potential inclusion throughout the year, and during various intervals JSTOR will review these submissions. Titles are submitted for review on this rolling basis using a Path to Open Submission Template (previously called the Pre-Delivery Metadata Template) which is given to each publisher during onboarding for Path to Open. This is a link to an excel sheet that can be used by anyone on staff at the press for submitting titles. For more information, please see this Toolkit for Submitting Titles for Review. Once the selection process has concluded, JSTOR will notify publishers in their Submission Template and via email. At this point, chosen books must be removed from standard library ebook distribution channels, while the rest can proceed through normal workflows as per usual. Once books are available/published, metadata, PDFs, and covers must be sent to JSTOR using a publisher specific SFTP space. Please note that the act of filling out the Path to Open Submission Template does deliver books to JSTOR, so please follow our delivery specifications. To summarize:

                  1. Publishers submit their titles for potential inclusion in their Path to Open Submission Template.
                  2. Once the Feb/Aug/Nov deadlines come to pass, JSTOR will review all titles submitted and select which ones across all publishers will be included over the course of two weeks.
                  3. Publishers are notified via email and in their Path to Open Submission Template which books were chosen and can be included in the program.
                  4. Publishers can then send metadata, PDFs, and covers for the selected books once it is available, using the metadata specs provided here.
                • Are there best practices that can be shared for the ISBN registration of these titles?
                  It should follow the same process as other titles made available today.
                  • Are there best practices that can be shared for the Creative Commons license for these titles?
                    We are asking publishers to please email Content Support and provide the future Creative Commons license of their title.
                    • Is there a way to send books in Path to Open directly to JSTOR outside of my normal file distribution workflow?
                      Yes. If you are concerned about accidentally sending books in Path to Open to other platforms, there is a way to send the books directly to JSTOR. Please contact Content Support to receive a metadata template and FTP login.
                      • Are there special requirements or acknowledgements needed for the copyright page of the books? Do I need a Creative Commons license or blurb that acknowledges Path to Open?

                        The below verbiage should be included in the electronic copy of the book: “This book will be made open access within three years of publication thanks to Path to Open, a program developed in partnership between JSTOR, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), University of Michigan Press, and The University of North Carolina Press to bring about equitable access and impact for the entire scholarly community, including authors, researchers, libraries, and university presses around the world. Learn more at”

                        Starting in 2024 and moving forward, we request that all print copies of the books published in Path to Open include the verbiage above, assuming the print copy has not yet been processed/distributed.

                        JSTOR is not requiring an updated copyright page to be sent at the time of open access conversion, which might often include an OA eISBN or a Creative Commons license. Since the above verbiage explains the program and notes that it will be open access in the future, an updated copyright page will not be warranted for the open access version.

                        • When should I deliver my titles to JSTOR?
                          JSTOR is now accepting deliveries for 2024 selected titles, and has created a new delivery location where Path to Open metadata and assets can be uploaded. Please get in touch with Content Support if you have not yet received information on how to access this location.
                          • Do I need to tell my metadata distributor (such as BiblioVault or Coresource/Ingram) to do something special?

                            Please work with your metadata distributor to meet the identified metadata specifications where possible, and also to deliver these titles to the new Path to Open-specific location. While JSTOR has had discussions with CoreSource, BiblioVault, and Firebrand about the program, we are not in a position to alter publisher configurations, change title management systems, or set up new delivery channels on your behalf.

                            If you have not received the metadata specifications, please get in touch with Content Support.

                            • Can I publish my ebooks through existing library sales channels for ebooks? If not, what are the limitations and why?
                              Titles published in the Path to Open program will only be available in the academic market through this model. Titles will not be available for sale through other aggregators or through direct sales models to libraries. The print copy of books can be made available through existing sales channels such as Gardners, Baker & Taylor, Erasmus, Centraal Boekhuis, etc. and titles can be made available for sale through consumer channels such as Kindle, iBookstore, etc. The Path to Open working group made this decision to limit the costs in supporting the program by streamlining the management of library participation and contributions, allowing for more revenue to be provided to the publishers and for more ebooks to be published in this program.
                              • Will there always be a set price of $5,000 per title published in the Path to Open program?
                                JSTOR will guarantee $5,000 per title published during the pilot phase of the program. If the pilot is successful, we are projecting there to be a surplus in the program within a couple of years after the pilot completion. The publishers participating in the Path to Open working group will then be deciding to distribute the surplus to titles already in the program through a usage pool distribution and/or to use the surplus to publish more titles in the program.
                                • Will JSTOR still support publishing open access ebooks on the platform that are immediately made open access?
                                  JSTOR will continue to increase the number of open access ebooks published on our platform as we have done in the past. There is a flat fee of $100 per title that is charged based just on the vendor cost to publish the title on our platform. JSTOR has never charged other costs in publishing these titles that we incur. For publishers participating in this program, JSTOR will waive all fees for current copyright year open access titles each year a publisher participates in the program.
                                  • How can individuals not associated with an academic institution access single titles while embargoed?
                                    Individual book acquisitions are not available on JSTOR. Individuals will be able to purchase single titles through the standard print channels publishers have in place, in addition to sales channels to individual consumers, such as Amazon. Lastly, JSTOR will support interlibrary loan (ILL) for all chapters of a book from academic institutions who have access through a paid subscription.
                                    • How can authors gain access to their ebooks published in Path to Open?
                                      JSTOR will provide each university press with access to all titles they have published in the Path to Open program. This access can be shared with the press’ authors.
                                      • What happens to titles published in Path to Open during the pilot, if it is not officially launched as a program?
                                        A decision will be made by April 30, 2026 to determine if the program is officially launched from the pilot. If a decision is made not to launch the program, due to a lack of library participation and/or publisher interest to continue after the pilot, then all titles published during the pilot will be converted to open access prior to December 31, 2027. Publishers would receive payment by March 31, 2027 for any titles released in the pilot in 2026.
                                        • How will titles be selected for inclusion across publishers?

                                          JSTOR will be using a methodology to select the 300 titles to be published each year from 2024-2026 that is expected to follow what we used for 2023. This includes applying a weight based on the subject areas the titles are in that are the highest used for paid and open access ebooks on JSTOR. We will also apply a weight based on the subjects with the highest usage when paid access ebooks are converted to open access. Lastly, an additional weight will be applied to titles that support current demand on the platform based on user search terms and topics. There will also be publisher requests that will be considered when finalizing the publication list. The goal is to ensure that titles are published across all publishers in the ranges set and to ensure we continue to support bibliodiversity.

      Disclaimer. This document was last updated June 2024.