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Stanford Report, March 8, 2000

Free access to 137,000 articles now on HighWire

HighWire Press has announced 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 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, university librarian and publisher of HighWire Press.

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"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."

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."

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 journal.

This means that a further 70,000 articles published online through HighWire can be available free in appropriate contexts. It also 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 sites.

"Journals in the HighWire group now release their back issue papers free in order to better serve both the authors and readers," said Robert Simoni, professor of biological sciences and an editor of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. "HighWire and its publishers now provide the largest repository of free research information in the life sciences in the world."

A complete list of journals offering free back issues and free trials is on the HighWire Press website at SR