June 10, 2007

Tom Matrullo and the New Macros

Tom does the New Math with JSTOR.

Comment: Fourteen dollars for a superannuated scholarly article - or even a brand new one - seems excessive. The internet holds multitudes, and lends itself to micropayments. E.g.: Let's say a library pays $10,000 for a year's subscription to a substantial collection of old journals -- perhaps a few million pages worth. Let's say two million pages, though it could well be more. That comes to $.0005 per page. And that gives hundreds, or thousands, of students and professors unlimited access to the journals. So, why not offer a pay-per-view model that charges individuals $.0005 per page? Granted, single downloads would not add up to much, but over time, as people became aware of the quality, scope and depth of the scholarship, volume would build. I'm not aware that JSTOR would be risking anything here, since its current subscription model would still be intact - there would just be more revenue, to allocate however it might choose. A win-win. (Update: Micro is the new macro)

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