3D archeological models in journal articles

About the 3D Viewer for archeological models

Authors of selected Elsevier journals are invited to enrich their online articles by providing supplementary 3D archeological models, which will be visualized using the interactive 3D viewer embedded within the article.

Using the 3D viewer, the reader can zoom into the model, rotate and pan the model, change display settings, and download original data files. It is also possible to open the 3D viewer in a new window.

The 3D viewer for archeological models has been developed in collaboration with Kitware SAS.

 3D viewer on Science Direct

Representation of how the 3D viewer will appear on ScienceDirect

Benefits for authors and readers

The 3D viewer functionality enables authors to enrich and extend their article by adding a possibility to interactively explore the archeological model discussed in the article. This provides a way to highlight their findings in a visual and easily accessible manner, helping readers to quickly understand the relevance of a research paper, to visualize research data for deeper insights, and to access the underlying data.

Innovating & Enriching Content

For almost 350 years, academic articles have been published in a similar layout – a format which starts with an abstract and ends with a conclusion and a list of references. Articles were presented in this way with the reader of the printed version in mind. However most researchers now access articles online, which means that readership styles and how information is gathered have changed.

We are adapting to these changes because we want to help authors improve how their research is presented online and readers to gain deeper insights faster. Offering the 3D Viewer for archeological models in our journals is just one of the ways we are doing this.

The 3D Viewer functionality enables authors to enrich and extend their article by providing a possibility to interactively explore the 3D archeological model described in the article. This helps readers to quickly understand the relevance of a research paper and to visualize research data for deeper insights.

Supported data formats

The Elsevier’s 3D Viewer for archeological models supports two data formats: PLY and OBJ.

PLY is a 3D data format known as the Polygon File Format or the Stanford Triangle Format. This format was principally designed to store three dimensional data from 3D scanners. The format specification can be found here.

OBJ is a geometry definition file format developed by Wavefront Technologies for its Advanced Visualizer animation package. The format specification can be found here.

It is also possible to upload material (MTL) and regular texture files (JPG/PNG).

MTL is an auxiliary file containing definitions of materials that may be accessed by an OBJ file.

The following tools can be used to prepare 3D archeological models in the aforementioned data formats: 3D Studio Max, AutoCAD, MeshLab, Blender, ParaView, Maya, etc.

Submission & publication

A 3D model will have to be uploaded to the online submission system via the “3D archeological models” submission category as a single zip file, irrespective of whether it’s just a single PLY/OBJ file or a more complex model consisting of material (MTL) and texture (PNG/JPG) files.

Please be advised that the recommended model size before zipping is 50-100 MB with the absolute maximum limit of 200 MB. The same holds for texture files.

Note: the 3D model will be available for download from the online article on ScienceDirect. If you have concerns about your model being downloadable, please provide a video instead. Maximum one model (one OBJ/PLY file) is allowed per submission.Archeological models submitted in formats other than PLY and OBJ will not be processed.

3D Archeological Models will be provided in the online version of the article. The PDF/printed version of the article will feature static figures only (if those figures are included in the article manuscript).

If you wish to provide feedback on the interactive tree viewer or have a suggestion for another innovation that would further enhance the online article please get in touch.