Multi-Science Publishing have adopted this slogan “Don’t Subscribe” in relation to their e-journals this year. Professional suicide? Not a bit.
Instead, they are promoting a new model of payment which their director, Bill Hughes, is calling ‘PofU’. What is this? Well, it is simple. “Pay Only For Usage”.
There’s a capped price for the year of $5,000. There’s one guaranteed invoice. There’s no hidden costs or nasty surprises.
From their press release:
“Very simply, this is how it works. Our content and its backfile is made available in your library. If downloads are made, we charge $5 per download. If there’s no usage, then no payment – you’ve got nothing to lose. If there’s usage, then you’re meeting specialist needs without the burden of a subscription. And the download costs are capped so you don’t face unlimited liability. Even if the value of downloads reaches the cap value (usually $5000) you can still make more downloads at no extra cost. What could be simpler, or more fair?”
I await developments on this one with interest. I’ve never been particularly convinced in the viability of usage-based models and have never been able to make sense of a model where you have no idea what you might be charged with the need to encumber budgets appropriately. But, having said that, I’m open to new ideas and new models, and this one might well have something going for it. $5 per download is significantly lower than a typical pay-per-view model.