Science journal subscriptions can cost libraries several thousand dollars a year, yet most institutions members only make use of a few articles from each of these journals. The huge subscription expenses limit how many journals each school or company can carry. Even single article pricing can be staggering, at $30-50 each. Sinisa Hrvatin, a doctoral candidate at Harvard, and his roommate Robert McGrath believe they have a better way.
Their new system, ReadCube Access, has an iTunes sales approach: a library can rent an article for less than $6 or can buy the same article for $11 (or less, depending on the source). Hrvatin and McGrath hope that ReadCube Access can not only lower expenses for universities, but also allow more journals to reach students around the country.
They sold their idea to industry giant Nature Publishing Group and to the University of Utah’s library system. (See their blog post.)