Template talk:Subscription required

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WikiProject Inline Templates
This template is within the scope of WikiProject Inline Templates, a collaborative effort to improve and manage Wikipedia's inline footnote, cleanup and dispute templates. If you would like to participate, you can visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks.
Some discussion of this template may take place at the project's talk page, rather than here.


{{Subscription}} and {{Registration required}} should share the same styling. I'm not quite sure what the style should be. —Mrwojo (talk) 01:20, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

{{reg}} uses the established {{fix}} as a base template: I'd prefer that this template used a similar form of inheritance if possible. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 13:45, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
Isn't {{fix}} formatting a bit harsh? The two subscription links in Bertrand Russell, one to JSTOR and the other to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, seem like they don't need fixing because the links are for references and are merely a convenience for online readers. Perhaps an explicit, self-referencing cleanup template is in order, such as [no free alternative?], to flag links that are suspected of being against the WP:EL guideline. ({{Registration required}} has the same situation, with the first two uses being to stories from Financial Times and Rolling Stone.)
As for this, {{YouTube}} has a similar notice that a site has restrictions which it displays as small text in parentheses. So maybe (registration required) and (subscription required) would best reflect this not-necessarily-broken-but-consider-yourself-forewarned message. —Mrwojo (talk) 16:16, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it's ideal, but I would rather that all such templates fell under some specific category and were thus subclassed to a relevant meta-template. If an alternative were available which better suited then both templates could be migrated onto it. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 20:25, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
It seems reasonable for us to create a meta-template to help organize these templates since I can't think of any existing categories or meta-templates that unambiguously address this. The closest might be Category:External link file type templates, which doesn't have an associated meta-template (and it kind of shows). —Mrwojo (talk) 00:04, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Grammar fix[edit]

This template's text should read (Subscription required.) instead of "(subscription required)" since it is used after citations, which end with "." I fixed it. A conforming edit has been made to {{Registration required}}. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 09:47, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

This grammar fix at {{registration required}} was reverted without comment (which was rude) as part of the next revision. The tempalte doc illustrations, more adequate here than for registration, show styling as a grammatical sentence does not fit.
Indeed, this template and {{registration required}} are frequently used at the end of bulleted list entries that are not closed with any punctuation, nor internally punctuated. (I have used only this one, usually in the External links sections of articles. Another bulleted list context is under "Citations" or "Books" or "Websites" in the References section.)
The documentation for both templates, and WP:EL as well, imply but do not illustrate the use of external links in running prose. I'm not sure that that is anywhere accepted in Good articles, or even B articles, but it is common in article space and it may be reasonable to use the template inline where applicable. I think the documentation should cover the latter somehow. (I'd be happier myself with a "small superscript" display such as {{dead}} generates.)
--P64 (talk) 23:12, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
I second the motion for superscripting this tag. --TyrS 15:43, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Proper use with citation templates[edit]

Proper use of this and {{Registration required}} with citation templates based on Template:Citation/core (i.e., almost all of them) is |postscript=. (subscription required)=

It should not be placed between the template and the </ref> for this tool or that won't parse it as being part of the citation data (if you want tech details, you'd have to ask the maintainers of {{Citation/core}}). — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 09:51, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Why would this need to be parsed in the citation data? The postscript does not appear in the metadata. If this need to be integrated, then we should add it to core. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 10:18, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Upon reflection, this should not be stuffed inside a citation template, else the markup will be included:

<span style="font-size:0.95em; font-size: 90%; font-weight: bold; color: #555">(Subscription required)</span>

---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 17:10, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

When to use this template[edit]

I have a question about the {{subscription required}} tag. An editor at DYK seems to feel that the tag is required on all sources that are avaiable at online databases that require subscription (e.g. Jstor and Springer) whether or not the sources are also available as paper sources. I don't think this is reasonable - and believe that per WP:PAYWALL the tag should only be used for sources that are only available through subscription and cannot be ordered through a library. What is the policy on that tag? If anyone wants to look at the article in question it is Maya ICBG bioprospecting controversy - one of the sources is a paper book edited volume that is also available for download from Springer, but which can be found in public libraries and research libraries.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:31, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

I think it should apply only to the |url= parameter. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 04:54, 25 May 2012 (UTC)


My adding a link to WP:V#Access to sources was reverted with "this link seems useless, if someone clicks on it they are probably looking for info about the particular subscription, not a general note that such references are acceptable". I believe, in keeping with the WP:INLINE standardization project, that this template should link to some guidance somewhere that explains either how subscription sources are used or how to find nonsubscription sources. Someone seeking info about the subscription itself would click the citation's URL, not this template, so the template is free to provide this additional guidance. Any ideas on the best target? JJB 17:41, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

Such links are useful for most of the other templates in WP:INLINE because they are maintenance templates. They're suggesting the user do something to improve the page, and a link is needed to provide guidance on how to do that. This template is different, because subscription sources are acceptable, so there's no need for the user to do anything. It's simply a courtesy notice to the user that they likely won't be able to access the link if they click on it. And I think it's perfectly natural to think that a link named "subscription required" would give you information about the subscription that is required. If we can't provide that information, then it shouldn't be a link. Toohool (talk) 18:20, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

via parameter[edit]

I think the via parameter is perfectly acceptable in terms of tracking links to this template related to a particular source. however, I don't think we need to make it visible. I can simply hover over the link to see if the source is HighBeam or ProQuest or whatever. it just feels like unnecessary advertising. from the thread on Plastikspork's talk page, it appears this was added as some sort of a compromise after the TfD of template:HighBeam. I originally supported the addition of a second parameter, but on second thought I think it is unnecessary. however, I would still support it for tracking purposes, or as a way to add a class to this template, which would allow me to personally hide it or modify it for particular subscription services (e.g., color subscription required in another color if it is one to which I have personally subscribed, much the same way that I have changed other coloring in my own vector.css page). Frietjes (talk) 15:10, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

The advert aspect is my objection. I have less objection to the tracking notion. I do think some tracking useful; I added a tracking cat, here. These were supposed to be "free" accounts, but if the norm is to advertise their use, then they weren't free, were they? I would agree to a resurrection of {{HighBeam}} if it were in conjunction with not displaying the shout-out of "HighBeam" via (;) this template. Br'er Rabbit (talk) 15:42, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
The via param is useful for many other archives besides HighBeam, such as ProQuest, NewsBank, etc., so I don't think the "quid pro quo" issue that you're raising should be a factor here. It seems to me that this is simply a matter of saying where you got it. Different archives could have slightly different versions of an article, so it's useful for verifiability purposes to know which version was used. It's also helpful to readers to figure out whether they'll be able to access the link. If I see a New York Times story with (subscription required), I might assume that I need a New York Times subscription, but if I see  – via NewsBank (subscription required), then I know I need a NewsBank subscription. It's true you can meet both these needs by hovering over the link, but I think being explicit in references is generally a good idea. By the same argument, we could get rid of the newspaper param in {{cite news}}, because you can just hover over the link. Toohool (talk) 00:31, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

Some of us have used essentially the following, which do not activate the title as a linkname; commonly, the one or two links displayed here are the first one(s) in the Refs or Extlinks entry that is illustrated.

  • ... (content suppressed but no link suppressed). U of Pennsylvania Press. Reprint retrieved 2012-09-22 via Questia (subscription required).
  • ... (content suppressed but no link suppressed). U of Pennsylvania Press. Reprint retrieved 2012-09-22 (subscription required).

These are my adaptations of usage by other editors. "(subscription required)", either freehand or generated by template, is included only where applicable. Inclusion and location of the dot(.) may vary.

Offhand I doubt that I have used the former myself. The latter does not "shout out" the service name. Both variants are transparent to me, as the "via" information is attached to retrieval. The approved template is transparent to me only because it does "shout out" the service name; as it attaches the information to the original publisher, it seems to identify the service as a secondary publisher. We credit the service purposefully, it seems to me, just as traditional citations credit the publishers of paper sources that are "reprints" (secondary publishers) but do not credit the printers of paper sources.

(From reading here today, I understand that we freeform writers undermine Wikipedia tracking usage of such services as Questia.)

--P64 (talk) 01:00, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Abstract available[edit]

Maybe a parameter is required for the common case where an abstract (often itself fairly useful) is available, but the full text is only available on payment? Maybe difficult to do in a non-wordy way? Pol098 (talk) 12:16, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

it does seem like that would be too wordy. if the information being cited required subscription, then use this template. if you can get the information being cited from a free abstract, then no need for this template (e.g., where it's just verification that the article exists, and has the specified authors, title, etc.). Frietjes (talk) 19:44, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree, precision must get wordy. There are many variants and some are complex.
Before spending hours in Template(talk) and Wikipedia(talk) space, I made a change (line 67 only) in one reference (ref#3) that needed attention otherwise. Re the matter at hand, both Before and After now seem regrettably wordy to me.
P.S. I don't consider that one worth changing alone. For one, section 9 where that source needs to be used more substantially remains essentially unreferenced; for two, it's a Talk page subject. --P64 (talk) 01:32, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Revisiting this, I've looked again at P64's line 67 only edit, using {{link note |note=subscription or purchase required; title and abstract free of charge}}. This makes good sense (I cite it here explicitly in case anyone wants to copy it). It could be trimmed with little loss of meaning to something like {{link note|note=Web abstract free, article on subscription}}, still a bit wordy. Pol098 (talk) 19:19, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

i was looking for a way to note that a source allowed access to a limited number of articles. this seemed important, especially where one WP article is referencing multiple articles from a source that does that. i don't know if this is the best solution, but i used the "link note" used by P64 to do so. i did it on this page (i don't know how to make a 'jump' like P64 did above): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todd_Bentley i'm surprised this hasn't been brought up before. does anyone think this might be the best way to do this? oh, this is what i used: (~3 free articles allowed before subscription required) and then i put in or changed the access date parameter within the ref.Colbey84 (talk) 05:52, 14 December 2015 (UTC)


Would you use this template for example on a link to the NYT? NYT allows some number of free accesses per month, after which they require a subscription. Kendall-K1 (talk) 19:32, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

use when Archive URL bypasses required subscription?[edit]

When editing Felix Sunzu today, I found that this reference requires a subscription, but the Wayback Machine's archived page is complete. I removed the subscription required template, as this enables a user to read the full article. Should the template still be included? - Paul2520 (talk) 13:10, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

Public access template?[edit]

Given that a very large number of academic papers are available only to paid subscribers, that many Wikipedia citations do not indicate this, and that readers may assume by default that a scientific paper cited is paywalled if nothing is mentioned, maybe there is a requirement for a "Public access" template and a parameter in {{Cite journal}} (or a message triggered by the existing "subscription=" if "no")? (Maybe something like this exists, but I haven't found it, and would have expected to have found it mentioned in the documentation for this template.) There would seem to be 3 main categories of access: public, on free-of-charge registration, and paid. Maybe we should also even distinguish "pay-per-view" and strict "paid subscriber-only" access? At present a reference with "subscription=yes" displays "(subscription required (help))", while "subscription=no" generates an error message (at the time of writing). At the very least, as a temporary measure "subscription=no" should not generate an error message.[1]

While technically "Cite journal" is a separate template, it would make sense to have a common approach. Best wishes, Pol098 (talk) 11:18, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

Ref with "subscription=no"

  1. ^ Goodrich, Julia K.; Waters, Jillian L.; Poole, Angela C.; Sutter, Jessica L.; Koren, Omry; Blekhman, Ran; Beaumont, Michelle; Van Treuren, William; Knight, Rob; Bell, Jordana T.; Spector, Timothy D.; Clark, Andrew G.; Ley, Ruth E. (2014). "Human Genetics Shape the Gut Microbiome". Cell. 159 (4): 789–799. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2014.09.053. ISSN 0092-8674.  Invalid |subscription=no (help)
See {{Open access}} and Wikipedia:WikiProject Open Access/Signalling OA-ness. – Jonesey95 (talk) 13:39, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
... which was indeed mentioned at the bottom of Template:Subscription required, where I missed it. Thanks, Pol098 (talk) 14:56, 29 July 2016 (UTC)