This fascinating article from the Boston Globe talks about a new product called ReadCube Access that offers “an iTunes model of single sales” for journal articles. The model reduces “the cost of individual articles — with some restrictions to protect the publishing business.” ReadCube Access is the brainchild of a pair of entrepreneurs who are the founders of a company called Labtiva out of Cambridge, MA. They claim that their new model “will help scientists keep up with research and help libraries hold down costs.”
According to the folks at ReadCube Access, the current system where university libraries and companies pay for annual subscriptions is out of step with today’s reality. It has produced a situation where “libraries pay for material they don’t need, researchers are unable to access scientific papers they do need, and publishers produce content their audience can’t afford.” Their solution is a model similar to iTunes where you pay for only the articles that you want.
The article goes on to discuss a ReadCube Access arrangement with Nature Publishing and the University of Utah’s library system that allows researchers to “rent” articles for lest than $6 and buy them for around $11. This compares to current prices ranging from $25 – $30 for article from other providers. The downside: you can’t print out the articles yet, “and much like with iTunes, they cannot share the content with colleagues.”
(If you’re attending the Charleston Conference you can hear all about it first hand. ReadCube Access will have a Fast Tech Talk on Saturday morning at 8AM – breakfast included!)