Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Elsevier Provides Free Journal Access ... With A Catch

An article appearing in the September 10, 2007 New York Times describes how Elsevier has started a new website aimed at oncologists that provides registrants free access to articles from 100 of their journals, including The Lancet and Surgical Oncology.

The site will provide registrants limited access to other publishers’ journals, too including summaries of cancer-related articles from 25 other leading journals, like the Journal of the American Medical Association and The New England Journal of Medicine.

Since there are more than 500 cancer drugs in the pipeline oncologists are a pretty research oriented group. The primary market will be those oncologists not affiliated with academic medical centers, who actually see a large percentage of all cancer patients. While oncologists affiliated those those centers generally have access to local subscriptions, those that do not generally rely on materials available on the Web for their research.

The catch is, and there has to be one since there is nothing that is truly free, is that Elsevier is planning to sell advertisements, especially from pharmaceutical companies with cancer drugs. Another revenue stream is the sale of their anticipated registration list of 150,000 professionals to advertisers. Since more of the general public is performing their own research online I would not be surprised that they actually make more money by using this model by opening up their resources beyond the professional. They could create custom banner ads and sell those registrant names to advertisers selling consumer products.

If the model works one can also expect it to move beyond medical information - Elsevier also owns Lexis-Nexis. Sphere: Related Content

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