paywalls, but Deep Dyve just announced a new product that could radically change the marketplace for scientific, technical and medical articles. Until now, Deep Dyve only indexed articles and directed users to the journal's own site. Starting today, users can rent articles from Deep Dyve. Accounts start with a pay-as-you-go account, by which users are charged $0.99 to keep an article for one day, and go up to an unlimited account for $19.99 per month.Buying a single article from a scientific journal is usually prohibitively expensive if you are not a student or teacher at a school that subscribes to the journal. Most academic journals are available only behind these
Deep Dyve also offers an intermediate account for $9.99 per month, by which users can download 20 articles and keep them for up to seven days. You can sign up for a trial account here. Deep Dyve accepts only PayPal for payments.
Unless you subscribe to the unlimited plan, the only issue with Deep Dyve's new plan is that you can rent articles but not print them. This is a minor issue, however, because most users are just looking at these articles for a few facts or a bibliography and don't need them for extended periods of time. At $19.99 per month, the unlimited plan is cheaper than buying one article from a journal per month, so the price of the service won't be an issue for most of the service's target audience anyway.
Target Audience: Knowledge Workers
Depp Dyve says that its target audience is the 50 million knowledge workers in the US. This is a somewhat optimistic view. After all, how many of these knowledge workers need access to the latest articles from the Journal of Leukocyte Biology? Still, there clearly is an untapped market here, and no one but Deep Dyve is trying to exploit it.
Disruptive or Just an Extension of the Publishers' Business Model?
Deep Dyve offers users a plethora of features, including persistent searches, email, RSS alerts and the ability to bookmark articles. What is most interesting about the company, however, is this new and potentially disruptive business model. The company has indexed over 30 million articles from thousands of journals. Most of these weren't easily available to the public until now. Few users would buy an article for $30 when confronted with a journal paywall. $0.99, though, is a far more palatable price.
According to the company's CEO Bill Park, the publishers that are working with Deep Dyve believe that this new model will help them expand their market without cannibalizing their current business model, which is mostly based on selling institutional subscriptions anyway.
It will be interesting to see how users react to this new service. We think this has the potential to be a very disruptive service, especially if Deep Dyve continues to expand its database and partnerships at the current pace.