Using ScienceDirect


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Accessibility in ScienceDirect

Enabling people with disabilities to access content quickly and easily

We demonstrate our commitment to web accessibility by enabling access and optimizing the experience for individuals with disabilities and impairments, including auditory, cognitive, physical, speech and visual disabilities. ScienceDirect aspires to meet all guidelines established by the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0  and the U.S. Section 508 Standards  of the Federal Rehabilitation Act, as well as similar standards enacted by countries around the globe.

Web Accessibility and Usability Features

Elsevier's User Centered Design team conducts over 100 usability tests a year to make sure that the ScienceDirect interface is usable for everyone. Features that benefit all of our users include full-text searching, bookmark-friendly links to journal articles and book chapters, and a flexible and consistent user interface design. We provide content in a number of different formats, including HTML and PDF.

Screen Reader Friendly

  • HTML journal articles and book chapters are compatible with screen readers such as JAWS, NVDA and Apple's VoiceOver.
  • Pages are well structured using headings, landmarks and lists which allow users of assistive technology to easily jump around pages.
  • Math content is available in MathML, which can be spoken by text-to-speech engines or converted to Braille and pasted into math equation editors or Microsoft Office documents.
  • Pages employ ARIA (Accessibility for Rich Internet Applications) to enhance navigation, orientation and labeling for users of screen readers and other assistive technology.
  • Images have alternative text descriptions to convey the meaning of an image to screen readers.
  • PDFs with searchable text are available.

Keyboard Friendly

  • Pages include a visible skip navigation link to skip repetitive elements.
  • Keyboard-only users can jump directly to a main section in a journal article or book by using the left-side table of contents.
  • Controls and features are operable using keyboard only.
  • Pages provide logical tab order.
  • When opening dialog windows and panes, the system places the cursor in logical places.

Flexible Display

  • Pages use separate cascading style sheets (CSS), allowing users to more easily customize the display and contrast.
  • Pages are usable when style sheets are disabled.
  • Users can enlarge pages and text with either browser controls or screen magnification software such as GW Micro's Windows-Eyes or AI Squared's ZoomText.
  • Content can be viewed in either HTML or PDF.

Clear Navigation

  • Links are named appropriately and include necessary information about the link.
  • Global navigation links are consistent across pages and enable users to quickly and easily understand the layout of the site.
  • Pages have unique and descriptive page titles which help with orientation, tabbed browsing and bookmarking.

Summary of ScienceDirect Accessibility Features


Screen Reader

Low Vision

Hearing Impaired

Keyboard- Only

(Dyslexia, Non-native English)


Controls and features are operable using keyboard only






Pages include a visible Skip Navigation link to skip repetitive elements






Users can jump directly to a main section in a journal article or book using the table of contents on the left






Content is available in HTML that can be resized or read using assistive technology such as JAWS screen reader






Math equations are available in MathML






Pages employ ARIA (Accessibility for Rich Internet Applications) to enhance navigation, orientation, and labeling for users of screen readers and other assistive technology






All graphical elements and color-coded items have meaningful text equivalents






Forms are marked up using labels that are read correctly by screen readers and allow for easier manual selection






Error messages are clearly identified using headings and iconography






Pages are uniquely and descriptively titled






Global navigation links are consistent across pages and enable users to quickly and easily understand the layout of the site






Tutorials are available in HTML tip sheets in addition to the narrated video format






Accessibility Customer Support is available by accessible web form or through






Tips for Users of Assistive Technology

We suggest disabling the Acrobat Reader option of opening PDFs within the browser window. This will help users of JAWS maintain the ability to use the browser back and forward button commands.

The Adobe Accessibility Site is a resource for working with PDFs and accessibility issues. The Adobe site offers a service for converting PDF files into ASCII and HTML. Also, you may download the latest version of Acrobat Reader, which includes features that enhance the accessibility of PDF files.

The HTML format for journal articles and book chapters is the most compatible with screen readers such as JAWS and VoiceOver. From a search result, select an article title or book chapter to be taken to the HTML version of the content. Once in an HTML article or chapter, users with screen readers can easily bring up a list of functional regions or landmarks on the page as follows:

  • In NVDA, use NVDA + F7
  • In VoiceOver, choose 'landmarks' in the 'web rotor', then finger flicking up or down will move to the next or previous landmark

In addition to millions of journal articles, an average of 91% of books, book series and handbooks available on ScienceDirect since 2009 are accessible in HTML format. Many additional titles have at least the abstract and references available in HTML.

MathPlayer is a browser plug-in for Internet Explorer that allows users of assistive technology to make better use of the MathML (math equation content) within HTML article pages.

ScienceDirect tutorials are available in text format. If you are using an assistance device, such as a screen reader, your device automatically reads a text version of the tutorials.

ScienceDirect Accessibility/Usability Collaboration

Since 2011, Elsevier has led an accessibility and usability collaboration with several university leaders in assistive technology and web accessibility. Our collaboration group meets twice a month to apply accessibility best practices to ScienceDirect features and improve the overall usability and accessibility for all users, regardless of ability. Seven universities currently participate: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of California, Berkeley; University of Texas; San Francisco State University; Indiana University; Michigan State University; and Penn State. The results of the working group and the lessons learned have been featured at CSUN, the International Conference on Assistive Technology and Persons with Disabilities. Please contact to join our accessibility collaboration.

Elsevier Accessibility


Top 25 Articles

ScienceDirect's Top 25 Hottest Articles

Keep track of the latest trends and discover what your peers and colleagues are reading with ScienceDirect's free Top 25 Hottest Articles alerting service.

The Top 25 allows you to see which articles have been downloaded the most, either from any of the 24 subject areas and/or from any of the over 2,500 active journals on ScienceDirect, based on the online behavior of over 15 million regular users. These reports are generated quarterly in order to reflect usage patterns.

Sign me up for the Top 25

Please note that the Top 25 service is not intended to infer any sort of preferential ranking to the journals, articles or subjects included, and should not be used as such, other than to present a general indicator of the readership behavior of readers.

What gets included in the Top 25?

  • The Top 25 is based on aggregated ScienceDirect usage behavior from the prior three months. So the Top 25 lists published in September represent results of ScienceDirect usage during April, May and June of that same year. It may include Articles in Press with publication dates of September because Articles in Press are available online in ScienceDirect before their official print publication date.
  • Usage is from users at ScienceDirect subscribing organizations and from developing countries accessing ScienceDirect through Research4Life. Usage from trials or test accounts, as well as usage by Elsevier journal editors or Elsevier employees, is not counted towards the Top 25 service.
  • Review articles and full-length articles are included in the Top 25 lists. Document types such as editorials, letters and surveys are not included.

Note for Authors

We receive many requests from authors for information on the specific number of downloads for their articles. Unfortunately, it is not ScienceDirect policy to provide this data.

ScienceDirect partners with Elsevier's WebShop to offer FREE digital personalized certificates to all ScienceDirect Top 25 ranked authors. You can order your certificate via the WebShop form.

Please contact with any further questions.

Guest Users

You have been recognized as a Guest User

If you are outside your institution's IP address range, you need remote access login details to access your ScienceDirect account. Please follow the instructions on ScienceDirect itself or those provided by your librarian and register your ScienceDirect profile. For more information, see ScienceDirect Access Methods.

If ScienceDirect is not available (via subscription) to you, Guest User access is available.

For Guest Users – Individuals

As a Guest User, you can access all abstracts and citations on ScienceDirect for free. Register on ScienceDirect to set up alerts and manage your preferences.

You also have access to a growing amount of open access full-text content:

Open Access Content

  • ScienceDirect hosts a growing number of open access journals. There are no subscription charges for these titles, and all articles are available to anyone with an Internet connection. You can find a list of open access journals on ScienceDirect in the Open Access Journal Directory and read more about publishing in Elsevier Open Access Journals.
  • Many Elsevier subscription-based journals also offer the option for authors to publish individual articles via open access. You can easily find all Publications with Open Access Articles on ScienceDirect and read more about publishing open access articles.

Complimentary Access

  • Open Archives gives free access to archived material. For details, please see the list of Free Access Titles.
  • Content items such as announcements, calendars, contents lists, editorial board listings, publisher's notes, personal reports and front matter of all books are always free, and some journals offer the first issue of a year as a free sample copy.
  • Elsevier participates in a number of access initiatives to give researchers in developing countries and patients access to vital information.

Here are additional tips to help you find open access content on ScienceDirect. For more information, please view the Elsevier Open Access Policies and follow the open access related posts on Elsevier Connect.

For additional access, we offer the following options:

  • Pay-Per-view – A credit card based transactional article purchase option for occasional corporate or unaffiliated users accessing ScienceDirect.
  • Personal access via the Elsevier Store – Offers online or print subscriptions to individuals for many of our journals and books, as well as article packages.

For Guest Users - Libraries and Institutions

ScienceDirect is a leading full-text scientific database offering journal articles and book chapters from more than 2,500 peer-reviewed journals and more than 30,000 books. The platform offers sophisticated search and retrieval functionality that maximizes the effectiveness of knowledge discovery.

Learn more about the available subscription options for:


Contact Elsevier Sales to discuss which options best suits your organization's needs. is the site for managing your library's business with Elsevier.

Using Tips

Using ScienceDirect

ScienceDirect is a leading full-text scientific database offering journal articles and book chapters from over 2,500 active journals and more than 30,000 books.

Personalizing ScienceDirect

Please register on ScienceDirect for free.

Registration allows you to personalize your settings, save searches, create alerts, purchase articles and more. Learn how you can customize ScienceDirect for your needs in the ScienceDirect Help section.

Consult the ScienceDirect Electronic Holdings Report for a list of titles available to you.

Reading ScienceDirect articles on your IOS or Android mobile device

Registered ScienceDirect users can read articles on mobile devices and experience:

  • Uncompromised access to full-text articles
  • Easy readability through crisp text and clean graphics
  • A simple search box on every article page
  • One-click PDF downloads to Mendeley

Take the ScienceDirect mobile article video tour and see a different—and better—mobile reading experience for yourself.


As explained in our privacy policy, collects information through the use of "cookies" or similar technologies.

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