Thursday, May 17, 2007

Monetizing the Encyclopedia of Life

First, let me preface this post by saying I know next to nothing of library informatics or politics. However, I have been chewing on an idea that may help monetize The Encyclopedia of Life in an acceptable fashion, thus bulding a long term flow of income to help build this great resource.

While remotely using my institution's library to hunt for PDF reprints, it occured to me that EoL ought to negotiate using uBioRSS as a database similar in functionality to the largescale, educational databases like BioOne. My University uses EzProxy to coordinate logon by students to access library resources, which essentially means that remote sessions appear local. So, accessing a PDF from a publisher once authenticated through my library's system is quick and easy. In very simplistic (and admittedly naive terms), "" for example gets tagged onto the suffix of the publisher's domain to coordinate this pass-through authentication. Couldn't the uBioRSS service be rolled into EoL along with a reasonable subscription fee for institutions such that students and employees can directly access PDF reprints right off the species pages in EoL? The majority of the content on species pages in EoL would of course still be fully open access, it's merely the direct links to copyrighted PDF downloads that would require prior authentication from within an institution. It would be absurd to charge institutions the typical BioOne-type subscription fees, but why not a reasonable fee that helps offset the EoL staffing and infrastructure costs?

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