Stanford University Libraries' HighWire Press began in early 1995 with the online
production of the weekly Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), the most highly
cited (and second largest) peer-reviewed journal. Scientists and societies
rapidly saw the potential for new forms and features of scientific
communication, and Science and
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
soon joined JBC online. HighWire now
produces 1764 sites online,
with many more planned.
HighWire enjoys the strong support of the University's President, Provost, and Deans of Medicine and
Research. HighWire is organizationally a department within Stanford, much as the Stanford University
Press is. Indeed, many think of HighWire as the Silicon Valley realization of a university press in the new
As a research university with an excellent life science research faculty and an
extraordinary medical school and hospitals, Stanford is vitally interested in
the communication of research results. The journals HighWire supports
correspondingly focus on science, technology, and medicine (STM) and are
preponderantly among the highest-impact journals in the literature. Also, as a
research institution, Stanford is strongly interested in the economics of
provision of scholarly information to researchers, especially STM research
HighWire was founded to ensure that its partners - scientific societies and
responsible publishers - would remain strong and able to lead the transition
toward use of new technologies for scientific communication. Concerned that
scientific societies separately would lack the resources and expertise to lead a
major technical infrastructure shift in publications, Stanford University, in
founding HighWire, accepted the role of partner, agent of change, and advisor.
Begun as a close collaboration of scientists, librarians and publishers, it has
not strayed from that model in its 11nineteen-and-a-half
years of rapid growth.
Under the guidance of its publishing partners, HighWire's approach to online
publishing of scholarly journals is not simply to mount electronic images of
printed pages; rather, by adding links among authors, articles and citations,
advanced searching capabilities, high-resolution images and multimedia, and
interactivity, the electronic versions provide added dimensions to the
information provided in the printed journals.
Working within the individual (and very different) subscription policies of the
societies and publishers, HighWire manages subscriber access to the journals it
puts online. This ranges from individual subscriptions to institutional access,
and can even scale up to consortial or national access policies. Much content
is, of course, available to all users on the Web without subscription.
With profound and growing ties to the societies and publishers it serves, and
equally profound links to scholars and the research library community, HighWire
emphasizes another species of communication as well. Through semi-annual
meetings of the journal publishers and innumerable operational discussions,
there is a very lively, productive, and path-breaking dialogue among the many
participants in the HighWire success to date.
Further information can be found online at: http://highwire.stanford.edu, or,
for readers outside the U.S. at: http://intl.highwire.org
[Our original mission statement, startup strategy, and prospectus from June 1995]