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journal donation project

...the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.
— Carl Sagan

The Journal Donation Project's mission was to assist in rebuilding major research and teaching libraries in countries that had fallen victim to political or economic deprivation through the provision of current subscriptions and back volume sets of English language scholarly, professional and current events journals.

The Journal Donation Project ceased operations in 2018 after almost 30 years of operations.


Libraries, as George Dawson commented on opening the Birmingham Free Library in the late 1800s, contain the diary of the human race. Thus, a library where one is free to read widely, to seek, and to learn is not a luxury, but one of life’s true necessities. Under the Soviet Union, however, libraries were institutions that restricted access, withheld information, and engaged in a multifaceted form of censorship, banning nearly all current Western literature, especially in the social sciences, and routinely denying readers access to coverage of contemporary events and matters of historical record. Consequently, in 1989, with the fall of Communism in Central Europe, and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, it seemed clear that the rebuilding of the region’s libraries would be of critical importance to the political changes then

It was as a response to this situation that Arien Mack, Marrow Professor of Psychology and Editor of Social Research at the New School’s for Social Research, launched the Journal Donation Project (JDP). The moment of the Project’s birth came in the winter of 1990, when Professor Mack asked a colleague visiting from Budapest what scholars and intellectuals there most needed. The quick and unambiguous reply was: current research journals.


The mission of the Project, is to assist in rebuilding major research and teaching libraries in countries that have fallen victim to political or economic deprivation, and often both, through the provision of current subscriptions and back volume sets of English language scholarly, professional and current events journals. 


One of our principle aims has been to create the best possible scholarly resources at the libraries receiving our support. Our other primary objective has been to identify libraries dedicated to change and opening up of archives. All JDP supported institutions are carefully selected as sites where users have the greatest possible access to the journals we provide. JDP has worked with over 500 institutions of higher learning since 1990.


Since its inception, the JDP has been envisioned as a transitional form of assistance for the libraries in its network. Consequently, in 1996, we initiated a reduced cost subscription program. This was greeted enthusiastically by most of our participating publishers who generously agreed to offer discounts of up to 50% off the institutional subscription rates in addition to the gratis subscriptions which many continue to provide even today.  They then were joined by many publishers that had not previously participated in the Project. This phase was made possible not only by the improved financial circumstances of some network libraries, but also more importantly, by foundation support granted to the JDP, which subsidized the purchase of many discounted subscriptions for libraries still lacking their own resources.


In recent years the JDP has grown from a small project based entirely on the donation of subscriptions, into a major international library assistance program, providing nearly 6,000 gratis and reduced-cost subscriptions per year. Each year, the Project works to expand the list of available journals to include important new titles that have been requested by the institutions we serve. In addition, we are continuously seeking grant support to increase our geographical coverage and the number of libraries we can assist, since the need far outdistances our capacity to help.


 JDP Funding History

Over the years, the JDP has received funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York; MacArthur Foundation; Atlantic Philanthropies; Ford Foundation; Samuel Rubin Foundation; Christopher Reynolds Foundation; Newman's Own Foundation; Open Society Foundations (OSF); Soros Foundation; Rockefeller Financial Services; Andrew Mellon Foundation; United States Information Agency; Smith Richardson Foundation; Eurasia Foundation; and other private donors.

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