HighWire Press's Free Online Archive

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_coglit.ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 10:01:43 +0000

    James Robinson, News Service (650) 723-5675; e-mail:

    HighWire Press publishers offer more than 137,000 free online

    Stanford University's HighWire Press announced Thursday that
    publishers of the journals it hosts now provide free online access
    to the full text of more than 137,000 articles. As a result,
    HighWire Press is now home to the second-largest free full-text
    science archive in the world and the largest in the life sciences
    with three entirely free journals, 51 journals offering free back
    issues and 32 offering free trial access.

    HighWire Press the online journal-production division of the
    Stanford University Libraries provides free and subscription-based
    access-technology services to more than 180 high-impact journals
    and more than 600,000 articles, mostly in the fields of science,
    technology and medicine.

    "We are extremely pleased with the trend to allow free access on
    the part of the publishers we serve, which are largely
    not-for-profit scholarly societies and publishers," said Michael A.
    Keller, Stanford University Librarian and publisher of HighWire

    "Although it is a decision made by each society, based on the
    business plan for each journal, we applaud their willingness to
    make the back files more accessible to the public. It helps
    fulfill HighWire's mission to support and improve scholarly
    communication that is, to make the fruits of scholarly research as
    broadly available as possible.

    "Further, we think that providing back issues without restriction
    helps assure institutional subscribers libraries, universities and
    laboratories that they need not rely absolutely on the printed
    versions of the journals as backup to online subscriptions."

    John Sack, associate publisher and director of HighWire Press,
    added, "The HighWire program works because we and the societies
    share the same basic goal of advancing scholarship through
    dissemination of peer-reviewed, research-based articles. Open
    access to back issues works economically for the publishers because
    the need for current issues [rather than back issues] drives their
    subscriptions and technically because HighWire's access control
    software is extremely flexible, and our bandwidth is quite high."

    In addition to the free back issues, the participating publishers
    offer "toll-free linking" of articles, in which a reader who
    subscribes (either individually or through an institution) to one
    journal can click on a reference in an article to another article
    from another journal and read the full text of the linked article,
    whether or not that reader has subscription rights to that second

    This powerful service to the reader means that a further 70,000
    articles published online through HighWire can be available free in
    appropriate contexts. It also greatly facilitates the scholar's
    research productivity by enabling a seamless investigation through
    the trail of citation and evidence.

    HighWire became home to the largest free full-text life science
    archives after several key developments following publishers'
    decisions: the loading of the 1990-1995 content of Proceedings of
    the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which added nearly 15,000
    freely available articles; the annual New Year's release to the
    public of the previous volume of the Journal of Biological
    Chemistry nearly 5,300 articles for the 1999 volume; and a decision
    by the American Physiological Society (APS) to provide free access
    to back issues of all its online publications. APS's decision added
    more than 5,000 articles to those already free at HighWire-operated

    According to Martin Frank, executive director of the APS, "We have
    long supported the idea of disseminating science as widely and
    freely as possible. Giving the world access to our 13
    subscription-based journals after 12 months allows us to do just
    that. Access to all issues of APS's Advances in Physiology
    Education will continue to be available to the world at no charge."

    Robert Simoni, professor of biological sciences at Stanford and an
    editor of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), said: "We at
    ASBMB, publisher of the JBC, are delighted that HighWire has
    fostered and facilitated this remarkable innovation [of easily
    freeing back content] and helped us meet our society's commitment
    to barrier-free access to research information. Journals in the
    HighWire group now release their back issue papers free in order to
    better serve both the authors and readers. HighWire and its
    publishers now provide the largest repository of free research
    information in the life sciences in the world."

    JBC and PNAS began the program of free back issues along with
    Rockefeller University Press' three journals the Journal of Cell
    Biology, the Journal of Experimental Medicine and the Journal of
    General Physiology when they discussed a common concern about
    educational uses of the research literature and recognized that the
    electronic technology gave them a no-cost opportunity to serve
    those readers. PNAS now also has more than 26,000 articles free
    from its 1990-1999 archive. Rockefeller University Press journals
    now make several thousand articles free as well.

    Subsequently, 17 publishers of more than 50 journals have joined
    the program. Some of the largest participants include the entirely
    free British Medical Journal, with more than 22,000 free articles
    from 1994-2000, and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM),
    with nearly 26,000 free articles from its 10 journals for

    "ASM has made the decision to provide free online access to journal
    content that is one year old or older on a continuously moving
    12-month window," said Samuel Kaplan, chair of the ASM Publications
    Board. "We believe this to be the best way of insuring the greatest
    possible access to the science published in our journals. ASM views
    this to be a major part of its mission. Also, we know that our
    journals have a lasting 'shelf life' for print subscribers, so it's
    gratifying to know that we now provide an online back-volume
    archive to subscribers and non-subscribers alike. ASM is pleased
    that this 'milestone' of 130,000 such articles has been achieved
    and are proud to have played a role in this achievement."

    Other journals and publishers participating in the program include
    the four journals of the American Society for Pharmacology and
    Experimental Therapeutics, Drug Metabolism and Disposition, the
    Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Molecular
    Pharmacology and Pharmacological Reviews; the Journal of
    Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience; the Journal of
    Clinical Investigation from the American Society for Clinical
    Investigation; the two journals of the American Society of Plant
    Physiologists, The Plant Cell andPlant Physiology; Clinical
    Chemistry from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry;
    Molecular Biology of the Cell from the American Society for Cell
    Biology; the Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry from the
    Histochemical Society; the Biophysical Journal from the Biophysical
    Society; the five journals of the American Heart Association,
    Circulation, Circulation Research, Hypertension, Stroke and
    Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; Blood from the
    American Society of Hematology; Thorax, the Journal of Neurology,
    Neurosurgery & Psychiatry and Archives of Disease in Childhood from
    the BMJ Publishing Group; the American Journal of Clinical
    Nutrition from the American Society for Clinical Nutrition; and
    Genes & Development, Genome Research and Learning & Memory from
    Cold Spring Harbor Labs Press. A complete list of journals offering
    free back issues and free trials is on the HighWire Press website
    at http://highwire.stanford.edu/lists/freeart.dtl.

    Stanford's HighWire Press makes it easy for publishers to offer
    their content without charge to users. "It really takes only a few
    minutes for us to implement a publisher's decision to make content
    free on an immediate basis, or delayed by a number of months or a
    volume," Sack said. As a result, several other societies and
    publishers are considering making their back content free under
    this program.

    Additional information about HighWire is found at
    http://highwire.stanford.edu. This page also includes links to all
    journals placed online by HighWire for their publishers, links to
    the 10 largest archives of free science articles and links to the
    500 most-frequently cited journals' online sites.
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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