If you read a lot of news or access academic journals online, you may already be familiar with the word paywall.
A paywall is a restriction on a website that requires users to have a subscription or to pay before accessing an article or any other piece of content. In recent years, the word has become more common as more news sites have added paywalls.
The New York Times and the Washington Post are two of the most high-profile news organizations to add them to their websites, but the idea is not new. The Wall Street Journal has required a subscription to view many of its web stories since 1997. But many news sites offered online content for free for so long that much debate has centered on whether online readers will pay for news and, if so, how much they should pay.
Some sites offer readers the chance to pay per article or journal or allow for readers to view a set number of articles before they are required to sign in as a subscriber or pay. Other sites allow readers to access content free despite a paywall in the case of breaking news (such as last week’s Boston Marathon bombing) or if they arrive at a website via web links or social media services like Twitter or Facebook.
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