With its revenues flat and business models changing, Reed Elsevier has made a bold move into offering free journal content via a web portal in oncology called www.OncologySTAT.com - the site provides free access to current journals from Elsevier's expensive journal titles, paying for it using ads. While Web adverts are nothing new, this combination of open access and ads is new.
www.OncologySTAT.com asks health workers (including librarians) to register and, in exchange, provides immediate access to current cancer-related content from Reed Elsevier's gold standards such as The Lancet and Surgical Oncology. Elsevier wants to sign up 150,000 professional users in the first year to attract advertising from pharmaceutical companies. Is this a new publishing model?
Even though Elsevier posted profits of billions in 2006, it obviously is aware of the impact of open access on the industry and the search enterprise. This move into providing free oncology content using ads might be a viable business model, and may mean a move away from its traditional expensive subscriptions-based model. Time will tell.