We are all in uncharted territory. The World Health Organization calls the coronavirus pandemic the “defining health crisis of our time.” More than any moment in most of our lifetimes, we all need to come together. By making sacrifices now, we can protect the health of as many people as possible.
Even as we do this, we must maintain important life activities including education and research. With secondary schools, colleges, and universities shuttered worldwide, we are working to develop ways to help students and faculty get to important academic resources as easily as possible. We are also working to understand the implications of the steps higher education institutions are taking, and will try to document important evidence and lessons learned that may be helpful in the future.
To date, we have taken the following steps to provide enhanced support, insight, and access to our participants and the global academic and research communities.
- Our JSTOR team is working with publishers and other content owners to expand access to ebooks and journal archives. This includes providing remote access for users of public libraries and other measures. For details, please see: JSTOR resources during COVID-19.
- Our Ithaka S+R team is providing a forum for sharing insights and best practices related to how libraries are responding to COVID-19 and how colleges and universities can best support and move to online learning. Please see: COVID-19: Resources for Higher Education and Academic Libraries
These pages will be continuously updated with any new steps ITHAKA is taking to fulfill our mission to expand access to knowledge worldwide as this pandemic unfolds.
We are also focused on ensuring that ITHAKA’s services continue to be available during this time when students and faculty need us more than ever. We will provide guidance and updates regarding business continuity on this page as well.
To start, our entire staff have moved into a work-from-home mode. We made this decision to protect the health of our staff and to increase social distancing. We are confident that we can sustain our services working in this way, although some activities, like sending paper invoices or checks, will be delayed. As a not-for-profit organization, our staff are motivated by a passion for our mission and a commitment to service. They have responded to this challenge with creativity and are deploying the robust and redundant infrastructure we have in place to maintain our high levels of service. We are deeply grateful for their dedication and commitment. Our staff are on deck and you can continue to reach out to us through our usual channels: email, phone, and social media.
The most essential pieces of our business continuity plans are as follows:
- We will continue to provide access to our platforms (JSTOR, Artstor, JSTOR Forum, Portico) for our participants around the world.
- We are in touch with critical third-party technology providers and are monitoring associated risks, including access to our local data centers and Amazon Web Services (AWS). We are confident that we will not experience disruption, but we recognize that the global situation may impact these companies in unexpected ways.
- We continue to receive digital content from content providers working with JSTOR, Artstor, and Portico. We also continue to receive journal print issues. Please note: we may need to pause certain content management processes if third-party services we rely on are unavailable, or if we are not in our offices for a prolonged period to process print issues that are mailed to us.
- We continue to receive and disburse funds electronically through wire transfer. Invoices or checks that are dependent on staff being on location will be delayed.
- Our Ithaka S+R team continues to work on our grant-funded research projects and has made arrangements to conduct some previously in-person work virtually. We have been in touch with our college and university partners to determine whether or not local surveys and other projects should proceed as scheduled.
Please share any questions you may have with us related to this information and let us know how we can continue to support you and our community.
In the most challenging moments of our lives, we have the opportunity to make a difference. At ITHAKA, through our services—JSTOR, Artstor, Portico and Ithaka S+R—we are committed to answering that call. We are working hard to be the best partners we can to help ensure that in the face of unimaginable risk and anxiety, the important work of education can go on. There will be many lessons to learn from this tragedy, but one of the most important has got to be respect for the value of knowledge, learning, and scientific discovery.