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I am currently looking for alternatives / provisional solutions to traditional journal subscriptions. The research institute (200+ researchers) I am working at has contracts with all the big players but they do not move in the currently ongoing negotiations. We consider cancelling one big subscription completely but the scientists would go berserk on us. So, we need an interim solution to supply them quickly with the articles they want and DeepDyve is one possibility. Unfortunately, I got no reply to the inquiries I sent via their online form.

Has anyone experience with DeepDyve group plans? What are the costs and is the access reliable?

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I've no experience with DeepDyve specifically, but there are a few things that stand out as issues from a quick look -

a) Coverage. They seem fairly broad, but it would be worth double-checking they include, say, the top-fifty most used journals by your researchers. (It's a little fiddly to produce such a list, but quite an interesting thing to have available.)

b) Access rights. In my experience, people get quite frustrated by read-online-only access models with no print/save capability, and this seems to be the DeepDyve approach. Downloading is apparently an additional cost (the plan gives you "20% off" without saying how much the basic price is)

c) Accessibility/usability. Requiring users to go to a specific service to read the paper (rather than the websites they're used to) will cause friction and probably a bit of confusion.

None of these are insurmountable, but they're all things that are worth considering. On the plus side, their basic prices seem competitive to standard document-delivery services, assuming some kind of a bulk-purchase discount, and access seems to be immediate rather than delayed.

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While it is convenient to be able to download articles on demand, I am not sure all researchers would go "berserk" on losing that ability. Simply switching access plans without consultation will likely piss people off. Why not have a meeting with the researchers where you open a conversation about the cost of instant access versus delayed access. You would need to have the relevant data about subscription costs, individual downloads costs, and number of downloads. Remember that the number of articles downloaded is probably an overestimation of the actual numbers because some articles are downloaded by multiple people multiple times and others are free in other places. A slight delay (48-72 hours) might be acceptable for many articles. Finally, telling the researcher how the savings will be passed on to them would be helpful. They will want to know what else can be cut from the budget to save the privledges.

  • Passing the savings on to the scientists would be a good incentive. Unfortunately, it is not possible to transfer money from this fund to another. My hope was to use the money to pay for gold Open Access fees and, thus, to support the transition from subscription to Open Access. We will see if this is possible to at least a small extent. Government regulations are very strict on this and we will probably have to transfer the (small) savings back to the ministry and ask them for a rededication. – Heike R Apr 17 '15 at 7:41
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After fishing an email address of someone responsible at DeepDyve from the internet and contacting them directly, I got a number:

usual cost per year per user: 12 * 40 $ = 480 $

group plan for 200 users: 54840 $ (274.20$ per user)

No idea how much this is negotiable. It includes reading as many article as one want and a 20% discount on the publisher price when buying the article (to be able to download and print it). The price (including the amount of articles our scientists would want to buy) would be feasible if we were to cancel more than one big subscription package. As it is currently, we considered only one cancellation and too much overlap in coverage of DeepDyve and our remaining subscriptions would result in 'double payment' for too many journals. We have to think this through.

If anyone has experience with this kind of transition or with DeepDyve as supplier for research institutions, I would still be grateful for some reports.

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