Cambridge University Press offers academic journal rental services

Cambridge University Press is experimenting with a new model for publication and journal access. Will this prove beneficial for 'emerging market' researchers?

Cambridge University Press is set to open its doors to the wider public on a scale never seen before, by offering 24-hour rental of around 100 academic journals.

Although not a heavyweight in the world of academic publishing, with many of its journals such as Neuron Glia Biology appealing only to niche markets, this model currently being introduced may make research and study cheaper and more effective for larger audiences.

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According to Cambridge University Press, this system allows a reader to save significant amounts on the usual price of full downloads. A move to mobile technology is being planned; potentially in conjunction within a rollout of this model across partner publishers.

After viewing an excerpt online, the article rental scheme allows users to read publications for $5.99 (£3.99) per article. After purchasing, you are sent an expirable link which lasts for 24-hours. The PDF format cannot be edited, downloaded or printed, and is only accessible within your browser.

Simon Ross, global journals director of Cambridge University press said: "Article rental is a direct response to the increasingly high cost of full article ownership through the subscription, document delivery and pay-per view routes that non-subscribers have to use in order to access to an article."

Without having the means to support the full cost of downloading singular articles for research, sometimes one may be forced to rely on search engines and any free content that may be available. Another means of enriching and providing cheaper academic sources may end up being incredibly beneficial for the end user.

However, this isn’t a new idea. Companies like Deep Dyve offers services that allow users access to read-only articles rather than purchase at a higher cost, and goes a step further by creating longer-term subscription plans with a wider range of sources available.

Although Cambridge University Press is one of the smaller players in the publishing world of academia, it may be a step in the right direction.

If more articles are readily available via subscription services, perhaps the model could in time be used to allow access to not only journals, but also the books students require for their courses.

This intrinsically could be a tantalising prospect for any student who has faced having to battle for the last copy of the core textbook, or has sent that pleading email to someone who has kept their library copy over the deadline.