A Medical Publisher's Unusual Prescription: Online Ads

A Medical Publisher's Unusual Prescription: Online Ads

A shorter URL for the above link:


By some measures, the medical publishing world has met the advent of the
Internet with a shrug, sticking to its time-honored revenue model of
charging high subscription fees for specialized journals that often
attract few, if any, advertisements.

But now Reed Elsevier, which publishes more than 400 medical and
scientific journals, is trying an experiment that stands this model on its
head. Over the weekend it introduced a Web portal,, that
gives doctors free access to the latest articles from 100 of its own
pricey medical journals and that plans to sell advertisements against the

The new site asks oncologists to register their personal information. In
exchange, it gives them immediate access to the latest cancer-related
articles from Elsevier journals like The Lancet and Surgical Oncology.
Prices for journals can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars a year.

Elsevier hopes to sign up 150,000 professional users within the next 12
months and to attract advertising and sponsorships, especially from
pharmaceutical companies with cancer drugs to sell. The publisher also
hopes to cash in on the site's list of registered professionals, which it
can sell to advertisers.

Mainstream publishers have wrestled for years with the question of how to
charge for online content in a way that neither alienates potential
readers nor cannibalizes their print properties. So far, few definitive
answers have emerged. Reed Elsevier, which is based in London, is taking a
risk that its readers will drop their paid subscriptions and switch
allegiance to the new Web site, which will offer searches and full texts
of the same content from the moment of publication.


The complete article may be read at the URL above.

David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 - 4584
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