The hefty price tag on scientific literature access is an ongoing source of frustration for many in the research community—including scientific researchers at pharmaceutical corporations. But as debate rages on surrounding Open Access, paywalls, and pirated content, we thought we'd take a step back to talk about one simple action you can take to squeeze top value from the peer-reviewed literature you depend on for your research.
First, let’s get some perspective on just how expensive access has become . . .
SERIALS PRICING: According to a 2019 Periodicals Price Survey, the average price for a chemistry journal this year is a whopping $5,950. And while chemistry serials are typically the costliest, other subject areas aren’t exactly cheap. Biology journals come in at an average $3,769 annually, and health sciences journals fall on the low-end of the scale at $2,156 on average. What’s more, prices have been increasing year over year since 2012, and the upward trend is expected to continue. Here are somer paywall stats:
- 59% of the most highly cited articles published are paywalled, at an average cost of $33.41 per article.
- 70% of all scholarly literature published online is paywalled, as are 50% of newly published papers.
Add Rentals to Your Article Access Mix
Instead of waiting around to see how the whole paywall/access issue pans out, there are actions you can take right now to optimize your literature acquisition strategies to improve productivity and minimize R&D costs.
As with any improvement effort, a good first step is to identify areas of waste. In this case, that means figuring out where you’re spending unnecessarily—and how you can make better use of your budget.
Within any research-driven institution, acquisition costs often go to waste. Indeed, just because an article is purchased and downloaded, doesn’t mean it’s actually going to be used. That’s because it’s not always possible to determine the true value of a paper just by reading its abstract. As a result, pharma companies often waste a big chunk of their R&D spend purchasing articles (not to mention subscribing to journals) that aren’t of much value in the end.
That’s where article rentals come in.
If an article isn’t available via subscription or open access, it’s not always necessary to purchase the article right away. If the option is available, renting an article is a great way to assess a scholarly paper before committing to a full purchase.
Pharmaceutical companies, for example, can take advantage of article rentals to gauge whether a particular article will be useful for regulatory compliance (e.g. screening drugs for adverse side effects). And they can save up to 75% off the article purchase price by doing so.
While you can’t print or download a rented article, you can view the full-text paper online for the rental term. With tools like Article Galaxy, for example, you have three days of online access—and if you decide to buy the paper, your rental fees will be applied to the purchase price. In short, rentals offer a smart, cost-effective way to determine which articles to invest in.
Article rentals are routinely offered as a content access option within Reprints Desk's Article Galaxy platform for the publishers that participate in the rentals program. Want to see Article Galaxy in action? For a limited time, we’re offering eligible customers a 14-day free trial of our enterprise-level solution.