Well-known education platform brings together digital content from across UK institutions for researchers, teaching staff and students

Not-for-profit ITHAKA, JSTOR’s parent organization, and the UK education and technology not-for-profit Jisc have agreed to a pioneering initiative that will allow institutions to make their digital special collections freely available to millions of researchers, faculties, and students around the globe.

The partnership gives UK higher education institutions the opportunity to add their digitized content to JSTOR’s Open Community Collections program, which enables libraries, museums, and cultural organizations around the world to bring together their materials, creating an unparalleled free resource for teaching and research.

Stephen Brooks, Jisc’s digital content product manager, says: “We are delighted to have struck this agreement with JSTOR at a time when digital content is more important than ever for research, teaching and learning. The Open Community Collections initiative provides an opportunity to leverage institutions’ own digitized collections through JSTOR, which is one of the most widely used scholarly platforms in the world.”

Digital collections of primary sources and archival material can have a strong impact on research and education, especially when academics can freely and easily access the content, and even more so when that content is connected directly to secondary book and journal literature that provides context.

Bruce Heterick, ITHAKA’s SVP for Open Collections and Infrastructure, offered: “The JSTOR platform has been a starting point for UK faculty and students doing research – particularly in the humanities and social sciences – for the past two decades. Providing a channel for institutions to get their primary source and special collections more meaningfully into the research workflow, and out of their current silos, is the key in unlocking the research and teaching impact of those collections. This initiative will help institutions to raise their profile by disclosing their special collections for free not only to scholars and students in the UK, but to millions of researchers around the world.”

Jisc members currently include the National Library of Scotland, University College London, University of Manchester, and University of Sussex. Any Jisc member can propose one or more of their digitized collections for inclusion in the scheme by responding to the call for participation by November 16, 2020. For more information, contact faye.holst@jisc.ac.uk, or call 07443 983571.