Published July 10, 2024 | Version v2
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From Overwhelm to Insight: How JSTOR's AI Tool Empowers Researchers in the Humanities and Social Sciences

  • 1. ROR icon Ithaka Harbors
  • 2. ROR icon JSTOR


Traditionally, research often involves grappling with the sheer volume of complex information, making it time-consuming and challenging to keep up with the latest scholarship. ITHAKA aims to empower researchers through the JSTOR platform, which combines the power of generative AI with a rich corpus of over 16 million academic journal articles and book chapters, and 5 million text and image-based primary source items. Our AI research tool, currently in beta, harnesses the power of LLMs, semantic search, and natural language processing to unlock new levels of comprehension and discovery, specifically in the humanities and social sciences.

Built collaboratively with users in mind, the research tool guides and supports the research process, significantly reducing time spent on tasks while ensuring researchers maintain full intellectual control. As one user aptly put it, "I can now accomplish in a day what used to take four or five. But the AI isn't doing the thinking for me; it's simply showing me where to look."

Since August 2023, over 9,000 scholars, students, and librarians from over 100 countries have actively shaped the development of JSTOR through the beta program. Early feedback highlights researchers' appreciation for the tool's ability to uncover hidden connections, generate novel research questions, and expedite their work. Furthermore, we are seeing early signs of increased content usage, indicating a shift in research behavior.

In our presentation, we will:

  • Dive into the principles guiding our work, emphasizing academic integrity, trustworthiness, reliability, collaborative development, and continuous learning.
  • Share key learnings on how JSTOR is transforming traditional research behavior, influencing perceptions of value, and revealing new research opportunities.
  • Present data on JSTOR's impact on searching, using, and comprehending content, quantifying the tool's effectiveness.
  • Outline the future direction of JSTOR, including integrating image-based content, providing deeper support for critical research methods, and enhancing discovery capabilities.

ITHAKA is a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve access to knowledge and education for people around the world. We believe education is key to the well-being of individuals and society, and we work to make it more effective and affordable. We improve outcomes for students and researchers; and we preserve knowledge for future generations.


LIBER _ Generative AI .pdf

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