In a Wikimedia blog post this week, Steven Walling shared news of an exciting partnership.
JSTOR, that non-profit consortium-based database, beloved by high school and college students everywhere for its scholarly, authoritative content, will now provide the 100 most active Wikipedia editors with
free access to the complete archive collections on JSTOR, including more than 1,600 academic journals, primary source documents and other works. The authors who will receive accounts have collectively written more than 100,000 Wikipedia articles to date. Access to JSTOR, which is one of the most popular sources on English Wikipedia, will allow these editors to further fill in the gaps in the sum of all human knowledge.
Walling’s post shared the results of a December 2011 survey that demonstrated the prolific editors’ need for access to research materials:
One of the challenges facing the volunteer editors of Wikipedia is finding reliable sources to use as reference material — in our last editor survey, 39 percent named this as one of the largest problems hindering their contributions. The need was especially pronounced among our most active volunteers, who make hundreds or thousands of edits per month.
Although (thankfully) many Wikipedia volunteers already have access to JSTOR and other database resources through their affiliations with libraries and academic institutions, this partnership between the Wikimedia Foundation and JSTOR’s ITHAKA organization will ensure more universal access, at least for the length of the year-long pilot.
So, what does it mean for our students?
The new partnership offers an additional layer of credibility to the hard work of the most dedicated Wikipedia volunteer contributors. I hope that students will look for those JSTOR references in the the Wikipedia articles they choose to use.
It is also possible that the work of the Wikipedia editors may make some of the challenging JSTOR content more accessible for younger learners or students who lack the context and vocabulary to fully understand scholarly writing.
And in more JSTOR news.
JSTOR recently announced the integration of more than 15,000 books (scholarly monographs from leading university presses) into its journal database, through a demand-driven acquisition option. Tabs on the search results page allow searchers to filter by content type.
See also: Scholarship gets more democratic