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Additional Resources: Student and Faculty

Data for Research or how to mine JSTOR data easily and for free

Lauren Trimble

Data for Research is a free service from JSTOR available to the broader research community, including independent scholars, computer scientists, digital humanists, and really anyone interested in the study of mining data for the purpose of uncovering new trends and patterns valuable to current scholarship and a deepening understanding of the humanities.

Created in 2008, DfR is a self-service tool that allows users to select and interact with content data in the JSTOR archive such as data from scholarly journal literature (more than 7 million articles) and a set of primary resources (26,000 19th Century British Pamphlets).

Specific web-based tools in the DfR interface include:

  • a powerful faceted search interface that can be leveraged to define content of interest through an iterative process of searching and results filtering
  • word frequencies, citations, key terms, and n-grams utilized for conducting analysis of document-level data
  • topic modeling (classification of subject headings at the article level), a powerful tool for content selection and filtering
  • downloadable datasets containing word frequencies, citations, key terms, or n-grams associated with the content selected
  • visualization tools

The self-service data set options available to the user are limited to up to 1,000 articles.

Contact the DfR Staff

Please fill out the form below if you have any questions/would like to look into more expansive data sets. 

Name *

Are JSTOR articles peer reviewed?

Lauren Trimble

While nearly all of the journals collected in JSTOR are peer-reviewed publications, our archives do contain some specific primary materials (like some journals in the Ireland Collection and the 19th Century British Pamphlet Collection).

Also, some journal content is much older than today's standard peer-review process. This means that, though all the information in JSTOR is held to a scholarly standard, not all of the publications are technically "peer-reviewed." At the current time there is no way to search JSTOR for only peer-reviewed publications. We often find that if you have questions concerning the academic legitimacy of a particular journal or book, your institution's librarian or your course instructor may be best able to answer those inquiries.

Topic Cards and You

Lauren Trimble

In your recent use of JSTOR, you probably noticed a blue banner at the top of content pages suggesting related topics of interest, which is why you are on this page. You might be wondering just what these topics are, and how we assign them to JSTOR content. Topics are derived from a thesaurus and are programmatically assigned to chapters and articles in the JSTOR archive. They are intended to provide background and context for the many subjects covered on JSTOR. Let’s take a closer look at how this process works.

The JSTOR Thesaurus was created in partnership with Access Innovations and, like any controlled vocabulary, the goal is to improve our ability to organize content and, ultimately, your research experience. According to the librarians who helped create it, it’s “a subject thesaurus comprised of the combination of several and varied source thesauri or controlled vocabularies. The resultant term list was arranged into a well-formed thesaurus compliant with NISO Z39.19 standards.” Basically, this means we combined many well-respected thesauri into one massive set of terms that meet librarian-approved standards.

The way we apply these terms to JSTOR content goes like this:

  • If a term is present at least three times, it is recognized by the thesaurus and triggers the application of a topic.

  • Each article or chapter can have up to 10 topics assigned to it.

  • The most relevant four topics will be displayed in the banner.

  • Relevance is determined by how frequently the term appears in the piece of content.

  • Bonus: It’s possible that no topics will be present if an article is so short that no term hits that three-times threshold.


When you click into a topic, you see a brief description of the term and have the option to explore other JSTOR content that is similarly categorized. You can also search within a topic to refine your results even further. A topics list is directly on the article page as well…

…and we would very much like your feedback. You can tell us how we are doing by clicking the thumbs up or thumbs down voting mechanism or by reporting any inaccuracies right there on the page.

JSTOR created this thesaurus because there is currently not another controlled vocabulary that covers the breadth of the social sciences represented in our database. It is a living thesaurus, which means our metadata librarians regularly comb through multiple sources searching for new scholarly concepts to add. For example, we recently added “fake news” to the thesaurus in response to recent political discourse in the U.S. As scholarly dialogue progresses, the thesaurus will continue to grow. We welcome your feedback as you interact with JSTOR topics, so please send along your thoughts and concerns to Happy researching!

What the what is a 'Moving Wall'

Lauren Trimble

In the course of your travels through the wondrous world of JSTOR, you will likely encounter the idea of a moving wall. If you’re a fan of mysteries or a student of architecture, something like this might come to mind:

An understandable association

An understandable association

While we are a digital library, no walls of books, physical or abstract, are involved. In the world of JSTOR, the moving wall refers to the gap of content between the archival and current issues of a journal. It is set by a journal’s publisher and ranges from 0 to 10 years, although the majority of journals in the archive have moving walls of 3 to 5 years.

You might be thinking this is a lot less thrilling than a creepy old library full of walls that move, but the moving wall is a source of endless excitement for the JSTOR Support team. For one thing the moving wall flip happens every year in early January, just when our team is feeling blue that the holidays are over. This is when another year of content is added into the archive to expand the scholarly pursuits of our honored users. It is just as exciting as a physical wall that moves, with 100% less chance of bodily harm or nasty bugs being involved!

To add to the thrill factor of a moving wall, that straightforward number you see (i.e. 5 years) is tricking you! The surprising twist of a moving wall is that the number never includes the current year. So in 2017 for a journal with a moving wall of 5 years, archival content goes through 2011, not 2012 as simple subtraction might suggest.

Now that you’re excited about the moving wall, you need to know where to find it. On any journal landing page, you will see a menu to the right of the journal's title that says “Journal Info.” The moving wall is listed below "Description" and "Coverage" in that area. Let’s look at an example, The Georgia Review.

In this case, the moving wall is 3 years which means archival access is available through 2013. Fun!

Understanding the moving wall and knowing where to find it for a given journal comes in handy when you’re trying to figure out what you should have access to on JSTOR. In the example above, your institution might not license the current issues of the journal, so you might only have access to the archival portion through Arts & Sciences III. There would be icons indicating that part of the journal was unavailable in that case, but now you know another place to check!

If you ever have questions about access, or are unsure of whether you should be able to read certain issues of a journal, you can always ask our team! We’re friendly and knowledgeable, and we find the moving wall exhilarating.

Until next time!

Why is there a blank space where a journal issue should be?

Lauren Trimble

So you found a missing volume or issue in our coverage of a journal and you're feeling upset:

We promise we're trying to fix it. You see, JSTOR relies on a number of sources to support our goal of online access to a complete back run. Publishers provide issues they have available and we make every reasonable effort to acquire any missing issues through purchases from third-party vendors. However, in some instances there are still issues gone and in these cases libraries, societies, and individuals have been invaluable in helping to complete journal back runs through donations and loans.

We very much appreciate the generosity of libraries and other sources willing to donate and/or lend needed materials for digitization. If you are in a position to help, or have any questions about a particular issue that you believe is missing, please write to

reCAPTCHA my reCAPTCHA, or why I'm seeing way more reCAPTCHA than normal

Robert Wesson

Why are you requiring reCAPTCHA

At JSTOR, we are constantly making modifications to the platform to enhance features, improve performance, and better understand our users’ behavior and needs. This use of Google reCAPTCHA before the download of your first PDF is a short-term test of our user verification functionality.

Is Google reCAPTCHA accessible? 

Yes, if you are using a screen reader make sure to select the "Get an audio challenge" prompt. You'll come across this option after the "Select all images with," and "Get another challenge" prompts. Once you hear "Get an audio challenge" you'll be directed to a pop-up that asks you to "Press play and enter the numbers you hear." Hit the "Play" button and enter the correct numbers into the field directly beneath it. Hit the "Verify" button to move to your PDF. If all else fails, please contact us.

How long will it last? 

We will be testing this functionality in various scenarios for some time, but most users won't encounter it more than once or twice. 

It's not working! Help!

Certain programs and settings on your computer can prevent reCAPTCHA from displaying or functioning properly. Below are some things to try when you need to troubleshoot.

1. Cache and cookies

A good first step is to clear your cache and delete your cookies, which will give your browser a new lease on life. This walk-through will show you how to do just that for the Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari.

2. Ad-blockers

Ad-blockers can be another source of reCAPTCHA frustration--most play nicely, but a few don't. Luckily, you can turn off ad-blocker for JSTOR without disabling your ad-blocker across the board. Since we don't show ads, this won't change your viewing experience. To do this in AdBlock:

  • Go to the AdBlock icon in the top right corner of your browser. It should look like a little stop sign.
  • Click on the icon and select "Don't run on pages in this domain" in order to disable AdBlock across all JSTOR pages.

3. Javascript

Javascript-blocking software (such as NoScript and JS Blocker) can also occasionally prevent reCAPTCHA from functioning as it should.  Opening up NoScript and choosing "Allow" from the menu will whitelist all of JSTOR and may solve the problem.

Even if you're not using a blocking program, your browser could have Javascript disabled. This site will show how to check that Javascript is enabled in all the major browsers.

4. Browser versions

Google, which created and hosts reCAPTCHA, states that it supports the two most recent versions of the browsers below. If your browser is older than that, you'll want to download a newer version.

5. Still not working?

Other culprits can include your firewall or proxy settings, which are typically set by your institution's library IT department. If you've tried the above and are still experiencing issues, we recommend that you contact them. We'll be happy to work with them to troubleshoot further.

In the meantime, you can submit your PDF request to


Why you can't submit your scholarly article to JSTOR, but can submit your journal

Lauren Trimble

So you have some incredible scholarly work that you’ve finished and you are ready to share it with the world. “JSTOR is my first stop! Publication here we come!,” you think to yourself as you log in to your MyJSTOR account.

While we’re excited that JSTOR is the first thing that came to mind, JSTOR does not actually publish any of the work that we host. JSTOR is an organization that works with publishers to digitize the back files of of scholarly journals. For inquiries regarding potential publication and submission information, please contact one of our participating publishers directly

If you're submitting a new journal that you'd like to see on the JSTOR platform, you'll have to fill out a form located on the following page. On the right hand side of the page, you'll see a link that says 'Submit Content for Consideration.' From there, you can fill out the form we'll need to consider your journal. If you have any further question about publisher participation please contact Content Development at

How to get permission to use JSTOR articles in your work

Lauren Trimble

So you found the perfect figure, study, or text to support your scholarly work in an article or book in the JSTOR archive. You want to gain permission to reproduce or include some or all of this content in your work. What steps do you take next?

While JSTOR hosts scholarly book and journal content in its digital archive, it does not actually publish this content or have full rights to this material. So while we cannot grant these permissions (since they are not ours to give) we can point you towards who might be able to help you out. We recommend reaching out to the publisher or the journal or book in question for the permission information directly. A current list of our publishing partners can be found here. If contact information is available, it can be found by following the publisher’s name link on that page.

Another way to seek permissions for content is through the Copyright Clearance Center. This option is available depending on if the publisher has opted to manage the permissions process this way. In the right rail of any journal article, there is a link that says “More Rights Options.” From here you will be taken to the Copyright Clearance Center webpage where you may have the option to purchase the rights to the article. If the link does not resolve to these options, then seeking permissions through the Copyright Clearance Center is not available and you will need to contact the publisher directly.