Users anywhere now have free access to JSTOR’s Early Journal Content, a corpus of scholarly articles published in the United States before 1923 and elsewhere before 1870. That’s about 500,000 articles from 200 journals, according to JSTOR’s announcement.
The digital archive said it encourages “broad use” of the material but asked that users not use “robots or other devices to systematically download these works as this may be disruptive to our systems.” In the announcement, Laura Brown, JSTOR’s managing director, said the move was not prompted by a much-publicized incident this year involving Aaron Swartz, a hacktivist charged with violations related to making unauthorized downloads of millions of JSTOR files.
“We are taking this step as part of our continuous effort to provide the widest possible access to the content on JSTOR while ensuring the long-term preservation of this important material,” Ms. Brown wrote. “We considered whether to delay or accelerate this action, largely out of concern that people might draw incorrect conclusions about our motivations. In the end, we decided to press ahead with our plans to make the Early Journal Content available, which we believe is in the best interest of our library and publisher partners, and students, scholars, and researchers everywhere.”