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H-SCHOLAR: COMMENT: Online access  Peter Suber
 Aug 24, 2001 05:17 PDT 
[Forwarding from Margaret DeLacey on the H-SCHOLAR list, via Jo Kirkpatrick.]


          In looking up an article in the Journal of Medical Informatics
this week, I noticed that the website offers free abstracts online. If you
want a
years' subscription it is $166 for individuals (makes The Independent
Scholar look like a real bargain!). However, if you just want to retrieve
a single article online in full-text, you can do so for a payment of
$5.00. A payment of $10.00 gets you the right to download, read and print
the full text of ANY article in their archives for a period of 24 hours.

         This arrangement was new to me, but perhaps it has been around for
a while. Newspapers are now charging for online search and retrieval of
articles from their archives (for example, free for the first month after
publication, $5.00 thereafter) but a charge of this order seems to me to
be much more reasonable for a journal article than for a couple of paragraphs
from a newspaper.

         I thought it was pretty clever. A scholar who knew there were a
number of articles in a single journal could collect a number of citations
over time
and then print them all out in one day at a very reasonable price. A few
years ago, I might have paid $5.00 just for the time spent searching a
database for the bibliographic reference!

         It seems to me that similar time-limited offers could help us find
a way to come to arrangements with some other information vendors that would be
affordable for individual scholars but would address the vendors'
concerns about giving their valuable assets away.

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