Publisher Reed Elsevier recently decided to offer free online access to the contents of several pricey medical journals. Risky? Perhaps, but it doesn't seem like a bad idea to me.
This excerpt shows one important reason why this move makes sense:
In just the last two years, the number of visits by physicians to online medical journals increased 27 percent, while readers of the printed versions declined 14 percent, according to Manhattan Research, a health care market research firm.
Ouch. How long could Reed possibly sit on the sidelines and wish this whole free access model would go away? I applaud the fact that they're working to leverage their existing brand(s) online and compete against the world. Plus, I wish I had access to the deep pockets their potential advertiser base consists of; if pharmaceutical companies will spend millions in the hopes that you and I will ask our doctor for a particular drug, imagine how much they'll be willing to pay to appear alongside professionally vetted journal articles aimed at your doctor...