I received an email  from a colleague about a month or so ago about a search engine they uncovered, called DeepDyve. DeepDyve was started in 2005 by two scientists who had previously worked on the Human Genome Project. It makes sense that the search engine searches for information spanning the life sciences, medicine, and patents. ( Note: Steve Wozniak as a member of their advisory board.)

The original focus of the company was to build a powerful research search engine.  While most search engine queries consist of just few words, DeepDyve queries can be as complex as the searcher desires: a few words, whole sentences, paragraphs, anything up to 25,000 characters. DeepDyve indexes entire phrases of up to 20 words each, compared to most search engines indexes individual keywords.

A funny thing happened. The company changed their focus.

While DeepDyve still makes use of their proprietary search engine technology,  they are now marketing themselves as an online research rental service that provides access to  over 30 million articles from thousands of authoritative journals for as little as $0.99 per article.

In is important to emphasize that DeepDyve is not selling copies of the articles., they rent them.  The rental fee provides 24 hours of unlimited viewing of that article. A silver plan of $10 per month provides up to 20 articles per month for 7 days. The gold plan of $20 per month provides access to an unlimited number of articles for an unlimited amount of time.

The proprietary flash-based viewer does not allow for download, screen capture, or printing of an article. One can only read the articles on screen. The service does provide personalized suggestions, bookmarks, alerts and related articles.

Although DeepDyve has signed up 25 publishers, some prominent ones are missing. For example, Elsevier. The following are some of the publishers available:

DeepDyve presents another challenge for academic librarians. There is a good chance that many of the journals and articles available to researchers from DeepDyve have already been licensed by the library.  How many researchers will use this service and pay yet again for the use of a work?

What would be really useful is if DeepDyve could incorporate openurl to redirect users back to a local copy rather then simply renting it from their own collection.

Eric Schnell