The first time I ever heard of DeepDyve, I was extremely pleased with the idea behind it and thought it would quickly become the new model for online access to journal articles. That was last summer, and I still hadn’t heard a peep until the news broke of a collaboration between DeepDyve and Nature Publishing Group.
Let me first tell you why DeepDyve is great. In prior art searching, we’re all on a mission to access as much of the world’s literature as we can, because *any* publicly available material can, in theory, knock out a patent’s validity. This means we constantly need to see the full text of academic journal articles – the abstracts and bibliographic data can’t give us any clue about the specific technical details held within. Academic researchers can get a good idea of what they need to read from the abstract; prior art searchers can’t.
The internet can be the mecca of the prior art searcher, or it can be our cruel mirage. Lots of great technical information is floating out there for free, but vastly more information is just tantalizingly out of reach behind the iron bars of copyright, and purchasing access to just a single one of these articles can cost around an average of $35. No matter how many e-journal subscriptions your library has access to, the articles you need to examine always seem to be just out of reach. This makes a comprehensive review of the relevant full text literature an extremely expensive proposition. It’s also frustrating because it’s impossible to know which promising articles will contain useful art, and which will turn out to be useless.
Now, DeepDyve has come along with an internet-era solution and a vision about how to work with copyright in an online environment. Here, you can find an article and simply “rent” the full text in order to determine if the document is really relevant to your search. “Renting” from DeepDyve means you can get access to the full text of the article for 24 hours for a much lower price than it would cost to buy, sometimes as low as $0.99. The rented article cannot be downloaded, saved, captured, or shared in any way.
This seemed like a breakthrough for me, because to be frank, copyright restrictions are simply at loggerheads with the mission of patent attorneys, legal researchers, prior art searchers, and inventors who don’t have access to massive libraries or the means to buy subscription contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s ultimately bad for patent quality. To improve it, we continue to seek ways to get broader and cheaper access to scientific and technical literature.
Although I was excited for the service as soon as I heard about it, obviously the major hurdle for DeepDyve was to get publishers participating in the concept. The model is great, but if the service doesn’t offer the articles we need to view, it’s just not useful. Recently, DeepDyve had scored a major coup: Nature Publishing Group will now make some of their content available for “rent.” If this development can entice other publishers to sign on, we may be on our way to more comfortably living with copyright restrictions in this online era. I’m rooting for you, DeepDyve.
This post was contributed by Intellogist Team member Kristin Whitman. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company, Landon IP, a major provider of patent search, technical translation, and information services.