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ACS News

A paywall that gives you more

C&EN’s metered paywall allows new readers to sample ACS’s most prominent member benefit before they buy

by Amanda Yarnell
August 4, 2018


The biggest way that readers support C&EN is through membership to the American Chemical Society. Until now, most C&EN content was available only to ACS members, which made it difficult to share our compelling journalism with family and friends.

This week we rolled out a metered paywall, which marks an evolution here at C&EN.

For years, C&EN has been positioned as an exclusive member benefit, perhaps the one that members treasure most. Our new paywall delivers the same great value to members while giving nonmembers a chance to try before they buy.

We’re more committed than ever to delivering chemistry journalism that ACS members hold dear. Members of ACS still have their all-access pass to C&EN: all the journalism, analysis, and data on our website, plus our award-winning print magazine.

But we also know that ACS members want to share their favorite C&EN stories—particularly those that demonstrate the power and beauty of our discipline—with their colleagues, friends, and family. The new paywall allows us to help them do so: Visitors who aren’t members of ACS can read a few stories each month, and we’ll up that if they create a free account with us.

So go ahead, share our powerful long read on sexual harassment in chemistry. Or our review of the new chemistry that might help solve the world’s mounting plastic waste crisis. Or our engaging infographic on the chemistry of air fresheners.

We believe there’s a wide appetite for the smart, engaging science journalism that ACS members support in the form of C&EN. If you agree, we hope you’ll register and maybe even join our membership community.

For the news nerds among you, C&EN’s new metered paywall emerged from our first foray into a product design sprint process. A small team from C&EN and ACS’s membership and technology divisions took a look at other paywall and purchasing experiences on sites like the Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, and Dollar Shave Club. We drew inspiration from this research to create and refine potential paywall experiences for The paywall you see today emerged from repeated cycles of prototyping and testing with member and nonmember readers who have joined our nascent but committed C&EN user group.

Even though we’ve launched the paywall, the work hasn’t stopped. We’re always thinking about how to make the next iteration an even better user experience for C&EN readers.

NOTE: We will continue to put some of our content in front of the paywall, including the critical chemical safety conversations housed in the The Safety Zone blog and ACS News.


This story was updated on May 24, 2019 to reflect ongoing efforts to optimize C&EN's paywall.


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