HighWire

HighWire Press: A Brief Introduction

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 (November 2014) produces 1804 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 millennium.

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 information.

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]