Alumni will now have access to online publications previously available only to current students and professors.

Through a collaboration between the Association of Yale Alumni, JSTOR and the Yale University Library, alumni will have free access to the thousands of academic resources that Yale licenses through JSTOR — a nonprofit digital archive of academic journals and primary sources. Administrators said the change contributes to the University’s commitment to lifelong learning, and three alumni interviewed said they welcomed the extra resources.

The agreement between JSTOR and the University came as a part of JSTOR’s Alumni Access Pilot program, which has expanded access to its resources to alumni at many other universities across the country.

“Yale alumni are among the most committed and connected anywhere, and this collaboration adds more connection to educational resources,” University Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer said in the Tuesday press release. “Yale itself has been at the forefront of expanding digital access through online courses and making digital assets from our libraries and museums available freely to the public.”

In the past, alumni could only access Yale’s licensed JSTOR content if they were physically present on campus and were using one of Yale’s computer stations, said Daniel Dollar, the University Library’s head of collections development.

Three alumni interviewed said they were happy that they now can use JSTOR for work and research. Kevin Gallagher ’10 and Francesca Yi ’10, who are considering going to graduate school, said JSTOR access would aid them in their future studies.

“In cubicles and conference rooms around the world, recent graduates are rejoicing,” Gallagher said.

Administrators and JSTOR representatives said the deal advances academic scholarship by allowing people to access the resources after they leave campus. JSTOR managing editor Laura Brown said in the press release that she envisions the recent graduates will use the resources as background information for “business, travel, continuing education, teaching and cultural pursuits.”

Amanda Patrick, the library’s director of development and communications, said content vendors such as JSTOR usually base their prices on the expected number of people that would use the resources, but the Alumni Access Pilot Program presents a new, more affordable pricing model — especially since Yale has roughly 130,000 living alumni.

Though the access is free for alumni, the University will now have to pay a “relatively small fee” in addition to the cost of the licensing rights to JSTOR’s content, Dollar said, though he declined to give a specific amount. The current agreement extends until Dec. 31, 2012, Dollar said, and the University will determine whether to renew the contract after assessing whether alumni find the resources useful.

“I think alumni will respond positively,” Dollar said. “This is a tremendous amount of content that has been digitized for study and research and just general reading. I’m hopeful that alumni will make good use of it.”

JSTOR, which stands for “Journal Storage,” was founded in 1995 by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, but is now an independent, self-sustaining not-for-profit organization with offices in New York City and Ann Arbor, Mich.JSTOR has 7,000 member institutions in 159 countries.

Sharon Yin contributed reporting.