UNC Press to Publish Books Online through JSTOR

We have some exciting news to share with you. As the Chronicle of Higher Ed and Inside Higher Ed have hinted over the past couple of days, UNC Press is one of five university presses (so far) that are teaming up with online academic content provider JSTOR to make scholarly books available online in a new venture called “Books at JSTOR.”

Highlights from the announcement by Ithaka (JSTOR’s parent organization) today:

Five of the nation’s leading university presses – Chicago, Minnesota, North Carolina, Princeton, and Yale – are at the forefront of a new effort to publish scholarly books online as part of the non-profit service JSTOR. Their books, representing ground-breaking scholarship across the humanistic, social, and scientific disciplines, are expected to be available in 2012.

“Books at JSTOR” will make front and back list titles available to libraries around the world in flexible ways that encourage purchase, adoption, and use. This new initiative is the result of a year-long investigation into the needs of the publishing, library, and scholarly communities. Consultations with dozens of libraries, end-users, and project partners helped to identify elements of a solution that include overcoming limitations on use and offering flexible purchase models for libraries, while developing a sustainable model for publishers for whom online book publishing must migrate quickly from being ancillary to a fundamental part of their business. Among the instrumental collaborators in this project were several presses beyond those announced here, including California, Harvard, and MIT.

It is, however, authors and scholars that factor most prominently in this new effort. Press partners are being encouraged to join based on the quality of their publishing and the relevancy of their lists to material already part of JSTOR to improve both visibility of authors’ work and ease of use for scholars. The books will be deeply integrated with the 1,600 current and archival journals on JSTOR, as well as the diverse primary sources available today. All the content will be cross-searchable, and the books will be linked with the more than 2 million book reviews and hundreds of thousands of books references in the journal literature. Works written by the same authors or focused on the same topics, regardless of format, will be connected, and alerting services for users will cross publishers, other content providers, and content formats.

UNC Press director Kate Torrey says of the new program:

“This is a really exciting collaboration. Following extensive research and planning, we now look forward to a launch that brings together distinguished book and journal content and establishes what we believe will be the gold standard. It’s been a long time coming but with Books at JSTOR, we can finally see the reality of scholarly books coming of digital age.”

To learn more, read the full press release:
JSTOR Books Press Release 11Jan2011 (PDF)