So you’ve found just the article you’re looking for, in PubMed, Google Scholar, or any of the other discovery portals you use on a regular basis. You mouse over to the Article Galaxy Widget on your toolbar to order it right then and there. According to the Article Galaxy Widget’s filters, it turns out that you don’t have access to the article through your subscriptions, but just before you click the purchase button, you notice the availability of a rental option.
Article rental is not only a new method of accessing documents inexpensively, but—and perhaps more importantly—quite possibly a strategic way to widen your net for capturing a greater number of relevant sources. For example, from a survey of, say, 500 citations, you might down-select to 100 articles of interest. Instead of buying all 100, why not rent them for a term at low cost to determine which 50 you might ultimately choose to buy?
In some cases, article rental can help you better manage your scientific literature budget, spending it only on the articles you really want. And if you do decide to buy the article, you will be able to apply the rental cost to the purchase price. In short, rentals remove the guesswork, and provide you with certainty that the published literature that you buy is actually what you need.
There’s a catch, of course. Article rentals are for individual use; there’s no print or download available on typical rental terms. But you’ll also save up to 75% on article access cost. Think of it like renting a DVD at 1/3 to 1/4 of the cost of buying it. Watch the full movie, and if you really want to buy it, you’ve not lost anything. You can actually credit the rental price to the purchase. In other words, try it before you buy it.
So maybe there is a place for rentals in your article access mix—and for making smarter decisions about your content acquisition overall.