Cover Story: Making Content Pay
Response to these changes has, so far, been good, Schwartz reports. "It is still the early days for us, but the initial response has been positive on all fronts."
American Association for the Advancement of
Content behind paywall: Feature articles (for one year), peer-reviewed research, membership forums. Site registration required to see articles more than one-year old
Rate structure: Association membership fee ($75 and up)
The AAAS, publisher of Science magazine, has always offered its magazine as a premium of membership in the organization, but in recent years has ramped up efforts to expand membership beyond the research community by offering an assortment of free content on its website, including pages targeting educators and journalists. The association has also found success putting content behind a paywall initially, and offering it for free after a period of time.
"A free daily news service and blogs are offered to attract readers to the site," says Beth Rosner, Science publisher. "We believe it is an important part of our strategy to get people familiar with our site and content, and then use this as a step to convert them to full membership. Also, many research articles that are of public health importance or general interest, such as our paper on the 4.4-million-year-old hominid Ardipithecus ramidus, which received worldwide press coverage, are made freely available immediately with registration. Again, this attracts people to our site and gets them familiar with our unique, must-read content. This is an important service to the community, but also provides a way to showcase our articles. After one year, all articles are freely available."
In addition to membership fees, Rosner says advertisers have always valued the premium target audience they are able to reach through Science. The publication benefits from a unique reader base reflecting the magazine's unusual combination of high-quality, magazine-style journalism and peer-reviewed scholarship.