A Review of HighWire Press
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1 Comment on A Review of HighWire Press 518

Carenado Davis, PhD, MLS
Jeffrey Coghill, MA, MLIS, AHIP, CAS-HSL
Laupus Library
East Carolina University



HighWire Press is a leading ePublishing platform that has partnerships with publishers, societies, associations, and university presses to provide access to nearly 3,600 publications consisting of journals, books, reference works, and conference proceedings. Its mission is to provide high quality service to three categories of users — publishers, librarians, and researchers – to allow for the exchange of scholarly ideas and community engagement.

Begun in 1995 as a project of Stanford University Libraries, HighWire was conceived as a repository for society-published journals that did not want to subject their works to the constraints of large commercial publishers. HighWire now boasts access to resources that include over 7 million articles, with approximately 2.4 million free full-text articles. In 2014, HighWire Press moved out from under the Stanford umbrella to become a separate, independent company (Carpenter).

The HighWire database has tools and tips designed for each category of users. Librarians benefit the most from HighWire as a tool to manage their online subscriptions with publishers, which allows administrators to manage their accounts and generate usage reports. Researchers, clinicians, scholars, and students using HighWire benefit from access to high quality, scholarly information for online research. HighWire has portals that make searching and browsing intuitive and easy, with various ways of locating, viewing, and managing content.

Features & Functionality

HighWire provides access to evidence-based publications and articles through its online portal, which users can access through their institution’s subscription. It offers multiple ways to access information. In addition to smartphones and tablets, users can connect via IP address authentication, member login, free open access sections, concurrent use, short-term trials, sponsored sections, fee-based collections, or pay-per-view items. Users have access to 28 free trials, 154 free journals, 288 free back issues, and 1,482 pay-per-view items. In addition, users have access to the full text of cited references in any of the journals that are hosted by HighWire as a free service, without a subscription, through their inter-journal links. Users also can read the full text of an article that is cited as a reference in a HighWire hosted journal.

The primary search is performed using the search bar, but there are advanced search and customization options, including keyword, citation, table of contents, and PDA alerts. The option to browse by a publisher groups all of the journals by a particular publisher alphabetically. The topic search has five broad categories (Biological Sciences, Humanities, Medical Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences), which are then broken down by subtopics unique for each class. There are limiters and filters to narrow the search, in addition to the option of browsing everything that is available.

HighWire provides additional tools to enhance the user search experience. Users can personalize their searches by setting up a free account with HighWire. Once registered, users have access to tools such as eTOCs (tables of contents), which are alerts for current content, new online content, future content, and preprint publication notifications. HighWire also has CITETRACK, a tool that provides email alerts for new content in participating journals, alerts for criteria-based searches (topics, keywords, subjects, and authors), and articles users wish to track. Additionally, users can search all of their favorites with one-click access to the current issue and cross-journal title searching.

Additional Features
HighWire has created many useful advanced tools for discovery, including the ability to review past searches, evaluate the citation information for items in the user’s results list, and refine current search results. The citation manager tool will easily export abstracts to bibliographic management software in various formats (EndNote, Reference Manager, ProCite, MEDLARS). Another useful tool is the keyword in context (KWIC), which displays the first two or three instances of the selected search terms in the article results so that users can determine if the article is relevant. Matchmaker, which is helpful for cross-reference searching, looks for patterns in central topics from a particular article and makes suggestions for similar articles. Lastly, when viewing results, HighWire has an at-a-glance view to show users whether they have access to the full text of articles through a personal or institutional subscription, for free, or for a pay-per-view fee.

The help section is comprehensive and covers how to use and troubleshoot the various features. Topics range from how to conduct a basic search, to searching strategies that will be helpful in getting the best results, to citation information and search errors. It is apparent that there was a deliberate effort to design the help and tips page to ensure that any issue that users may have is covered in depth.


HighWire Press is an excellent resource for librarians, publishers, and researchers. It is user-friendly and reliable, with many integrated tools that enhance and maximize user experience. HighWire’s open platform creates an environment that bolsters flexibility, publication options, visibility, and discoverability of high-quality resources that support user workflow, society mission, and publisher business.



Carpenter, T. A. HighWire press moves out of Stanford and becomes an equity-funded “Inc.” Retrieved from http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2014/06/02/highwire-press-moves-out-of-stanford-and-becomes-an-equity-funded-inc/


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1 Comment

  1. Jan W. Schoones September 22, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    The search interface could be improved. First, there is no expert search option (the expert search opton of Elseviers ScienceDirect is excellent) . Second, the response of highwire to show the results is quite slow, sometimes unbearably slow. Third, the exporting of references is very cubmersome (one needs to check every item – the selecting of a complete set does not function properly).

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