The Article Blog

Why launch a document delivery-enabled “Open Access” tool?

Posted by Peter Derycz on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 @ 04:23 PM

document delivery OAI’ve been asked:  “Doesn’t Reprints Desk sell articles? Why in the world would you launch a tool to help people find free articles?” The answer to that question is easy: Because it makes damn good sense, that’s why. 

Let me explain….

First of all, at Reprints Desk we don’t make money by selling articles, systems or software. We make money by making customers happy. That’s first and foremost, and maybe the only thing we think about all the time at Reprints Desk:  “How can we make customers happy?”  When our customers tell us they’re happy, we become happy.  It’s a symbiotic relationship.  The “making money” part comes from having customers in the first place, right?  OK, so we have the basic premise of our business established.

Secondly, what can we do to bring more happiness and satisfaction to our customers?  What can we do that no one else is doing or has thought of?  What have we built already that we can improve upon? 

Well, we did a survey of a customer group and found that one of the activities that commonly occurs is that our customers will spend valuable time hunting around on the Internet for “free stuff” before going to a paid service.  It’s human nature, even professional human nature.  However, it’s also time consuming and creates a barrier to more efficient content workflows.   

Think about it: if someone gave you a list of 50 free articles to pull off the Internet, how long would it take you to actually do the gathering of these “free” documents?  At least fifty Google searches, two to 500 hundred “drill-down” clicks, plus the saving and organizing of the articles.  It’s an all day process.  If you spent a half-day or full-day doing this (depending on what “real” work you have pending), these fifty “free” articles don’t seem to be so “free” anymore. And you’ve got to figure out what CC-BY-NC means, or whatever terms of use are associated with that article.

Now, keep in mind that in the real world, only a small percentage of the articles any of our customers need are Open Access, so a lot of time is wasted “checking just in case it’s Open Access.”  We dared to imagine something mundane: Let's help our customers save a lot of time and money as well as create more efficient workflows by integrating Open Access into our platform. 

If each one of our customers tells two friends, then we’ve just turned customer happiness into more customers and more customer happiness, and they tell two friends….and the virtuous cycle continues. That’s how Reprints Desk was built, it’s in our DNA:

We dedicate our efforts to making customers happy, because without them, we don’t exist.  And you know what?  We like existing!

Third point, we have put a lot of hard work into building an awesome Document Delivery platform for our customers.  Our customers helped us build it.  I think it’s the best one in the world, definitely the best one I’ve ever collaborated on.  I’m proud of it, the old-fashioned way, in the same way my father took pride in his work at the machine shop at the old Bell & Howell in Pasadena when he knew a piece of metal he was milling would get put onto an Apollo mission. 

A lot of our customers think we’ve done a good job as well (see The Article Blog post “Love Thy Customer”). Additionally, we’ve made substantial improvements lately, including in our ability to get more “granular” in our platform and system workflows than we ever imagined.  We’ll be announcing some news about these developments in short order.

So, what does Open Access Filter do?  For our customers that have it activated, we will run every article request through the Open Access Filter and our platform will determine if that particular article is available via Open Access today.  Why “today?”   Well, if you follow Open Access developments, you’ve probably realized that in addition to traditional Open Access journals, there are also Hybrid Open Access journals where only certain articles are available on an Open Access basis.  There are also embargo periods, which means that the article you want might not have been Open Access yesterday, but it is today.   So, it’s not as simple as knowing which journals or ISSN’s are entirely Open Access.  It really is a matter of knowing exactly which articles are Open Access today!  How’s that for a “Car Talk” puzzler?

Our Open Access Filter will help our customers save time and money, by integrating Open Access directly into their content workflows.   If you are a Reprints Desk customer, and think Open Access can help you save money, then I urge you to learn a little more about it.  Give me or someone else here a call. I led the project and love talking about it.  If you’re not a Reprints Desk customer, and think Open Access can help you save money, then join us!  Now’s a good time join our “love thy customer” movement.

Our greatest hope is to yet again, help our customers save time & money, as well as make their Content Workflows more efficient.  We think this makes sense, and if you do to, then please check it out, and please tell two friends….

Topics: journal articles, document delivery, open access, scientific papers, OA articles, Open Access Directory, OA Directory