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Behind the scenes: the Scopus product team (IV)

Part IV of our series on the people who bring you Scopus. Next up, Eric Swenson and Peter Berkvens.


Eric Swenson, Director of Product Management

ORCID: 0000-0002-2897-2907


Tell us about yourself.

At the core, I am a producer – someone who conceives of and designs products that combine digital technology, design and high stakes business logistics. I have worked at the forefront of digital media, publishing and information services for more than 20 years, most recently with Elsevier's Science & Technology Division since 2011.


Previously, I have worked as Director of Production and Program Management for Hearst Interactive Media, served as the co-founder and creative director of publisher and design studio Necro Enema Amalgamated, produced music under Cherry Red Records label out of London and taught digital media production at Pace University’s MS in Publishing Program.


How do you describe your role on the Scopus Product team?

I consider myself to be a shield, enabler and to a minor extent, a catalyst. We have an amazing team of driven individuals who know their stuff and share a very progressive vision for the product. My job is to help us achieve our vision as a team.


What is your favorite part about working on Scopus (and at Elsevier!)?

I appreciate the fact that my product managers and I are given a broad degree of autonomy to map the market and approach product development with an outside-in approach. As a product management team, we endeavor to spend a majority of our time working from the outside, hanging with both users and buyers, studying them, talking with them, and most importantly, listening to them. That’s something that really sets apart our team.


What’s your favorite feature or search to run in Scopus?

I use the Analyze Results tool frequently. When I combine Analyze Results with custom alerts, Scopus becomes a killer intelligence and trends monitoring weapon.  Beats my bowie knife.


What do you do in your free time?

I read Celine; program my children; engage in experimental photography; do wood and metal work; target shoot; participate in secret Antifa maneuvers; go camping; write under various pseudonyms; make music; listen to music; dance around…and work to make this world a better place for me and you. 



Peter Berkvens, Senior Product Manager


Tell us about yourself.

I graduated as lab analyst (Analytical Chemistry). I have worked for Elsevier since 1983 (started as desk editor for the Journal of Chromatography). I’ve been involved in many projects including the digitization of workflows in Operations and Publishing. Since 2001, I work on Content-related projects for our major platforms ScienceDirect (including YOAS Backfiles) and Scopus. Connect to me on LinkedIn. 


What is your role on the Scopus team?

My role is to liaise between the more outbound (to Sales and clients) Product Managers and Operational and Technology groups to ensure smooth handling of Scopus’ data flows and data needs. People from all over the company know where to find me if they have questions re. journal and article content, and Scopus’ secondary data derived from it.


What is your favorite part about working on Scopus (and at Elsevier!)?

We are constantly on the move and continuously growing and developing in the Content areas I am responsible for. That’s what I like. Never a dull moment!


What’s your favorite feature or search to run in Scopus?

Author Profile Feedback Wizard. Amazing to see how fast we can correct author profiles nowadays, and how smooth this functionality works plus how well it is received by end-users.


What do you do in your free time?

Besides spending time with my family and doing jobs around the house and in the garden, I am a volunteer at my local soccer team as soccer referee for under-20 teams (see photograph with my son Sander on the left and his cousin Lucas on the right).

  Earth Day 2014: Making a positive impact on science

April 22 2014 is Earth Day

The date for Earth Day was chosen because April 22 fell between the academic spring break and final exams. Choosing that time of year meant students would likely be available to celebrate and recognize the day. In addition to post-secondary students taking a break, April is the month when many elementary and secondary school science fairs conclude.


For me, this year’s Earth Day marks the end of a 6-month journey to a middle school science fair. Last October my 13 year-old son was tasked with conducting a scientific experiment, producing a paper and presenting the results. Working for a scientific publisher, I had grand visions of developing a young scientific writer who one day would be cited in Scopus and published on ScienceDirect. The reality was a little different. Overwhelmed by the scope of the project, my son was quick to bury the instructions in his backpack.


It became apparent to his teacher, dad and me that we had to break down the assignment into steps he could manage. We deconstructed the project, followed a weekly timeline and focused on each specific step in the scientific process. As the project progressed, so did my son’s engagement with it. It was thrilling when he finally produced his poster board and notebook, and even more exciting to see his work selected for a third-place award in the engineering division at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair in March.


What do Scopus and the 8th grade have in common?


More than 9 million pre-college students worldwide compete in science fairs each year. Several thousands in grades 9-12 participate at the topmost levels of competition at prestigious events. New science around quality mentorship of undergraduate science students has recently emerged, and a Scopus search on “mentoring and science” returns nearly 1,500 documents! Mentoring is proving to be a key strategy for successfully recruiting and retaining students in the sciences.


Among the over 54 million records available in Scopus, I would expect that many of the cited authors started their scientific careers as students participating in local science fairs. Today they are being discovered and referenced on a global scale. The Scopus Author Identifier raises an author’s profile as a subject expert in his or her field of research. Scopus can also help researchers clarify their identities through integration with ORCID.


What does this have to do with Earth Day?


If you are looking for a way to celebrate, take a moment to recognize your strengths and determine what you have to offer that can help someone else. Contact the alumni department at your institution and take that first step to mentoring a young science student.


If you are a young scientist or researcher based in the Asia-Pacific region that has made significant contributions in the area of Sustainable Development, you have until May 20 to apply for the PROSPER.NET-Scopus Young Scientist Award in Sustainable Development.

  Scopus releases minor enhancements to results page

Based on user feedback received since the redesign of Scopus, additional improvements have been made to the interface. On April 9 we have released the following updates:


  • Numbering of the search results on the document results page;
  • Additional information on hover-over in the ‘Source’ column on the results page, such as volume and issue number.


To provide feedback on these enhancements, feel free to email us at Scopus Marketing.

Release Date: 
April 9 2014

  Behind the scenes: the Scopus product team (III)

Part III of our "who are the people that work on Scopus?" series. In their own words, the Scopus Product Management team describes who they are, what their role is on the team and what they like most about working on Scopus and at Elsevier.


Gillian Griffiths, Senior Product Manager


Gillian Griffiths, Senior Product Manager
Tell us about yourself.

From Liverpool, studied Biology/Psychology at University of York. I've worked at Elsevier in the Netherlands since 1984 – so Scopus launch coincided with my 20 year jubilee. Started as Desk Editor in Life Sciences publishing; involved in launch of Elsevier’s first online journal – Gene-Combis – in 1995, then supervised building of more scalable online journal systems for publishing (before ScienceDirect was ready), enabling portals like Parasitology Online. I also helped develop early online submission systems. In 2002, just as I was starting to dismantle the online journals again in favor of ScienceDirect, the phone rang and I was invited to join an exciting new project – called Scopus! Aside from a year specializing in Search, I have worked on Scopus since then. 


How do you describe your role on the Scopus Product team?

Of course I’m the memory of Scopus after 12 years with the product and having been involved in building up all kinds of functionality, but I see my major role as networking between the “outside” and the “inside” – there can be an interplanetary gap between those whose focus is mostly commercial and those who actually build the product and write code. I’ve always been good at spotting the missing links, so bridging these gaps comes naturally.  I’m also the one who best understands how the search works in Scopus, by the way.


What is your favorite part about working on Scopus (and at Elsevier!)?

Elsevier is a large, international company and that has two major advantages: (1) you work with all kinds of people from all over the world and hence continually broaden your horizons; (2) in a big company, you don’t have to leave when you start getting bored – there’s always something new to do, and yet your experience remains relevant. Scopus was the best thing I’ve done here – it was thrilling to be involved in this startup from scratch, and particularly since it was the first thing we did that actually observed users and built 


What’s your favorite feature or search to run in Scopus?

Bad question for a search specialist – we have some 4-page queries built by expert users which I love to decipher– but an early favorite I found on the prototype before the launch is this gem by P. McRory: TITLE (“Who says you cannot get published”).


What do you do in your free time?

I’m an enthusiastic amateur musician, play cello and flute in chamber music and various orchestras whenever I can.



Kai Wan, Product Manager

Twitter: @Kai_W_Wan


Tell us about yourself.

Born in Hong Kong and raised in the Netherlands, I started out my academic experience with Public Administration prior to changing my major to Sinology. I graduated from Leiden University with a BA in Sinology and a MA in Chinese Studies with a specialization in International Relations. I’ve spent a year in situ at Shandong University, PRC following intensive Mandarin Chinese courses. Upon my return to Leiden I continued my studies and I was working as a TA for the university’s faculty of Humanities. I joined Elsevier in 2011 as a project coordinator and I joined the Scopus team as a product manager in 2013.



How do you describe your role on the Scopus Product team?

One of my main responsibilities is to ensure Scopus is working as expected and resolve any issues that may arise. I’m also responsible for our localization efforts and the overall innovation of Scopus’ core features e.g. export, analysis tools and User Interface.


What is your favorite part about working on Scopus (and at Elsevier!)?
The best part of working on Scopus is seeing the diversity of innovative ideas and people that make this product possible. Moreover, seeing the positive impact that Scopus has on people’s lives and careers makes me very proud to be a part of the Scopus family. The best part of working at Elsevier is the opportunities that it brings to expand my horizon and interests. Due to its global connections I get the opportunity to focus more on the Asia region which coincides with my original expertise. This allows me to use my regional expertise to improve and expand our current services and products and make sure it meets our customers’ regional needs.


What’s your favorite feature or search to run in Scopus?

I personally like our revamped Author Profile page. The Author analysis tools give you a neat overview of your own and your peers’ general performance.  Moreover, the syncing of your ORCID account with your Scopus ID makes the discovery of your peers even easier and more comprehensive.


What do you do in your free time?

Aside from plotting to take over the free world I do enjoy the occasional karaoke, not that I’m a particular good singer au contraire, but in the end it’s about the effort that counts…right?

  Scopus content update: Books Expansion Project

In mid-2013 Scopus launched the Books Expansion Project to increase the Arts and Humanities content in Scopus and the project has been steadily moving along. To date, you can see more than 30,000 books in Scopus!


How do we select books to index? The selection policy for books content is on a publisher level (no individual book suggestions are considered), taking into account aspects such as: reputation of publisher, size and subject area of books list, availability and format of book content, publication policy and editorial mission and quality of published books content. Full bibliographic metadata will be indexed as well as abstracts (where available), author and affiliation information and cited references.


  1. Subject areas: Focus on Social Sciences and Arts & Humanities, but also Science, Technology & Medicine (STM)
  2. Coverage years: Back to 2005 (2003 for A&H)
  3. Number of books: 75,000 by the end of 2015; 10,000 each year thereafter
  4. Book types: Monographs, edited volumes, major reference works, graduate level text books
  5. Not in scope: dissertations, undergraduate level text books, atlas, yearbook, biography, popular science books, manuals

*All books from selected publishers deemed “in scope” will be selected for coverage.


How is the program going? The Books Expansion Project is well underway. Various book Publishers have already been selected and agreements with more than 30 publishers are in place to deliver and process the book lists. The appropriate workflows and quality control to capture all the relevant data from the books are in place. Books from major publishers like Springer, Wiley-Blackwell, Elsevier, Brill, Walter de Gruyter, Princeton University Press, Project Muse and many others have already started to be added to Scopus. The books of many more relevant book publishers like Oxford University Press and Palgrave Macmillan are soon to come.


For an up-to-date overview of the Books Expansion Project and a list of the 30 thousand books currently indexed in Scopus, see the Scopus info site.

  Behind the scenes: the Scopus product team (II)

Part II of our "who are the people that work on Scopus?" posts. In their own words, the Scopus Product Management team describes who they are, what their role is on the team and what they like most about working on Scopus and at Elsevier.


Jessica Kowalski, Global Market Development Manager


Jessica Kowalski, Market Development Manager, Scopus
Tell us about yourself.

I have worked in technology and research for over 10 years in both the public and private sectors. A science and literature geek at heart, I’ve found myself at home at Elsevier for the last 4 years. Though my home base is NY, I travel extensively in North America, Europe and Asia for both business and personal purposes.


How do you describe your role on the Scopus Product team?

Global Market Development Manager – Responsible for growing the Scopus business in new and existing markets.


What is your favorite part about working on Scopus (and at Elsevier!)?

The travel.


What’s your favorite feature or search to run in Scopus?

Really love exporting the refine results of a big search and putting together a variety of charts in Excel to gain insight


What do you do in your free time?

A soon to be first time Mom, my travel wings have been temporarily cut but I am spending a lot of time planning the trips I plan to take with my husband and daughter next year. First on the list: Italy.



Cameron Ross, Director of Product Management, A&I Databases


Cameron Ross, Director of Product Management
Who are you and how do you describe your role on the Scopus Product team?

As the Director for A&I databases, I’m responsible for defining the vision and leading the overall Scopus strategy when it comes to how we should meet the needs of researchers, scholars and information professionals.  I’m also very closely involved with product management teams across Elsevier – from SciVal to Mendeley – who are all striving to create better ways to help with the publication, dissemination, discovery and evaluation of research.


What is your favorite part about working on Scopus (and at Elsevier!)?

I joined Elsevier 10 years ago this year and I still love the energy and international, special mix across all of our offices. Furthermore, it’s always fascinating and humbling to spend time visiting our customers all around the world and learning about what’s happening in research and education.  And the Scopus team is smart, passionate, and keen to help researchers across the globe find the best answers and boost their impact.


What’s your favorite feature or search to run in Scopus?

My favorite feature is the Analyze Results option.  I can run a search and get a quick and simple summary of the main authors, institutions and journals relevant to a particular term so that I can drill deeper and figure out who I should follow in a new field.

And my favorite search? I use Scopus for personal reasons too. I’m always on the lookout for breakthrough research dealing with treatment for a rare degenerative eye condition called Keratoconus.  It appears this is, unfortunately, a relatively widespread affliction with 3 of us suffering from it within the Scopus team alone!


What do you do in your free time?

When I’m not travelling overseas for work or fun, I love playing tennis, reading about technology and exploring my adopted home city of Amsterdam.

  Behind the scenes: the Scopus product team

So who are the people that work on Scopus? We thought it was time to let you meet them, in their own words. Rather than overwhelm you, I'll break this up into a few smaller groups. I asked everyone on our team the same 4-5 questions and here is what they had to say. My own "interview" is still to come...


First up, Senior Product Managers Dr. Wim Meester and Michael Habib and Market Development Manager Becky Brown.


Michael Habib, Senior Product Manager

Twitter: @habib


 How do you describe your role on the Scopus product team and what's your story?

Michael Habib, Scopus Senior Product Manager

As Senior Product Manager for Elsevier's Scopus, I am currently focused on altmetrics, author profiling, and Mendeley integration. I also serves as an ORCID Ambassador and on the NISO Alternative Metrics Initiative Steering Committee. Prior to joining Elsevier, I worked at the print-on-demand publisher I previously worked in both public and academic libraries and hold an MS in Library Science from UNC-Chapel Hill, so my background is in library services.


What is your favorite part about working on Scopus (and at Elsevier)?

My favorite part about working at Elsevier is how international it is, both in colleagues and business. Working on Scopus has given me the opportunity to meet with librarians and researchers from all over the world. It is very interesting having to balance managing a global product with more specific regional needs. The Japanese localization project was especially enjoyable as it allowed the opportunity to focus deeply on learning about the unique needs of a particular country.


What’s your favorite feature or search to run in Scopus?

I have lots of favorite features, but I will limit myself to three. In the top right corner of the “Source title” tab of Analyze results is a link that enables users to “Compare Journals in Journal Analyzer”. This means that someone can search for the most prolific journals on a particular topic then easily compare those journals based on impact measures like SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper). This feature is very useful when a researcher is looking for a journal to publish in or for a librarian to determine if they have the appropriate titles to support a given research topic. Other features I love are the Scopus2ORCID service and the “Related documents” feature on Document Details pages.


What do you do in your free time?

In my spare time I travel.


Dr. Wim Meester, Senior Product Manager, Content Strategy and Policy

Scopus Author ID:



Who are you and how do you describe your role on the Scopus product team?

I have a MSc and PhD in Chemistry from the University of Amsterdam. After two years of research as a post doc at Harvard Medical School, I decided to stop being an active researcher and joined the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) as a program manager for (international) research funding programs in Chemistry. In 2006 I joined the Publishing unit of Elsevier where I was responsible for the journals programs in Animal Science and Forensic Sciences. I joined the Scopus team in 2010 as the Product Manager for Content Strategy and Policy.


At Scopus I have the overall responsibility for the content strategy of the product. I work on the development of a transparent content selection procedure for existing and new content types including journals, conferences and books. I ensure that the content strategy meets the needs of customers in the Academic, Government and Corporate market segments. And in addition I manage the independent, international Scopus Content Selection & Advisory Board (CSAB) and strategic partnerships with relevant research organizations and third party publishers. 


What is your favorite part about working on Scopus (and at Elsevier)?

What I like about working in the Scopus team at Elsevier is the truly international environment. The nice thing about Elsevier is the opportunity to work together with researchers and customers to make it easier for them to find and analyze relevant research in an efficient way in order for them to spend the most time on their actual work: doing research. The exposure to so many excellent researchers in all different subject areas makes working on the Scopus team interesting every day.


What is your favorite feature or search in Scopus?

Given my background as publisher of the journal Small Ruminant Research I developed a special interest in research about sheep and goats. Therefore, here's my standard search in Scopus: Wim's favorite search. But, there are many great, interesting articles to be found in Scopus. Some of which have more scientific impact than others. One of my favorite articles with a high societal impact is: Spontaneous knotting of an agitated string.


What do you do in your free time?

[Editor's note: Wim ran out of inspiration after these search queries. We'll await his response but I can tell you he is an avid swimmer and has a wine collection to envy.]


Becky Brown, Market Development Manager (with a focus on Corporate Markets)


Who are you and how do you describe your role on the Scopus product team?

I have been working at Elsevier for 8 years now, in roles from Sales to Product Marketing to Academic Relations and now Product. I love to talk, and I am a serious PowerPoint addict. 


How do you describe your role on the Scopus Product team?

Market Development to me means listening to customers. I work closely with our sales teams and try to meet as many of our diverse Corporate client base as I can. I then help the rest of the team filter the feedback we get to ensure we understand the needs of researchers working in a corporate environment.


What is your favorite part about working on Scopus (and at Elsevier)?

I love working with team members and customers from all over the world. Scopus is a global product and Elsevier is a global company; this challenges us to keep an open mind and always try to communicate clearly.


What’s your favorite feature or search to run in Scopus?

How could you not love Analyze Results?! When I show customers the ability to visualize the results of any search in Scopus, no matter how large or small, they are always surprised by what they see. That is exciting.


What do you do in your free time?

When I am not thinking about what restaurant I will try next, I am probably guilting myself into a long workout. Or dreaming of being on a beach, any beach. Seriously, any beach will do. 


That's it for the first round of "Who are these people at Scopus?". Hope you enjoyed it -- I know I enjoy working with all of them.

  Scopus content update: the Arts & Humanities

Scopus turns 10 this year (!) and we are doing a bit of looking back – and looking forward – to see how the database has grown from both a user and content perspective. One area that we thought would be interesting to focus on is the specific improvements Scopus has made in the coverage of the Arts & Humanities; below is a brief overview of a few content enhancement projects.



In 2008, Scopus covered approximately 2,000 Humanities titles. In 2009, to further increase the number of Humanities titles in the database, project MUSE and the initial ERIH list were used to identify additional relevant titles that could be reviewed via the Scopus Title Evaluation Process (STEP).



A similar content expansion project was undertaken in which the coverage of the revised ERIH list, the Social Science Citation Index, the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, the titles list of Evaluation Agency for Research and Evaluation, France (AERES), and the Humanities journal indexes Cairns and Francis were used. These journals were reviewed and added to the Scopus database, together with the Humanities titles selected for Scopus coverage via STEP.



Scopus coverage grows to almost 3,500 Humanities titles and that number increases to 4,200 when also including Humanities-related titles – 20% of the Scopus database. This includes all serial publication types, such as journals, book series and conference series.



Many publications in the Arts & Humanities are not published in journals but in books. The Scopus Books Enhancement Program was set up to address this issue – it aims to index around 75,000 books by the end of 2015. To date (March 2014), we have indexed 30,000 books and these are visible in Scopus!


Want to learn more about the Arts & Humanities in general? Check out the Arts & Humanities March 2013 issue of Research Trends. Research Trends is (ISSN 2213-4441) is a quarterly magazine providing insights into scientific trends based on bibliometric analysis (using Scopus, mainly).

  Scopus to add cited references for pre-1996 content

If anyone in our Amsterdam office sits near the Scopus team they may have overheard us tossing out numbers such as “1970”, “8 million” and “1996”. What do these numbers have in common exactly? They are all integral to the Scopus Cited References Expansion program which launched earlier this month and will (begin to) become evident with the Scopus interface in the fourth quarter of 2014.


The Scopus team is thrilled to officially announce the launch of the Scopus Cited References Expansion project. After extensive evaluation of feedback from the research community, internal discussion and operational documentation, our content team successfully made the investment case to include cited references in the Scopus database – going back to 1970 for pre-1996 content!


The Cited References Expansion project aims to increase the depth of Scopus’ scholarly content while enhancing the ability to use Scopus for evaluation and trend analysis. Moreover, author profiles and h-index counts of researchers who published articles prior to 1996 will be more complete. And what is the best part of the program? All additional content will be included in the standard Scopus subscription fees.


The project leader, Senior Product Manager for Content, Dr. Wim Meester, says, “We are excited to be able to execute the Cited References Expansion program over the next three years. Since the launch of the product ten years ago, we have not seen such a large project making the archival content in Scopus more complete. And most importantly it will make researchers in Scopus look better and give them more impact.”


Let us know what you think by tweeting @Scopus or sending us an email. Stay tuned to this space for updates as the Cited References Expansion project progresses.

  Scopus, Spinoza and the Arts & Humanities

Increasingly people are aware that Scopus is by far the largest scholarly database for the humanities. Out of 8,000 active journals and book series titles in the social sciences 2,600 are in Arts & Humanities. Next to that our books expansion program is beginning to show impressive numbers with thousands of monographs also being indexed in Scopus.


But perhaps less well known is that the influence of Arts & Humanities is also noticeable in other fields. Let’s have a look at this and take as case in point the works of Benedict de Spinoza, who was born almost four hundred years ago actually not that far from our office here in Amsterdam. He wrote on many philosophical topics such as politics and psychology and has been credited for pre-empting the Enlightenment . He even wrote on the concept of “scopus” (an intended goal)! Einstein once said that if he believed in a god it would be the god of Spinoza.


If you search for Spinoza in Scopus you will get an impressive list of records: 219 in the last 10 years. As you would expect a large part of these are in Arts & Humanities, but also more than a few, and certainly not the least interesting ones, are in other fields, like psychology, medicine, business and computer science. And in turn these 219 articles are relying on 897 references. If you analyze these results further you’ll find that some of the great authors of the 20th century are represented: Deleuze, Foucault, Althusser. Latour, Negri, even Kafka. Why don’t you check out your own favorite philosopher in Scopus yourself? You can even set up alerts to be notified of future mentions.


Now, as always, Scopus is accepting titles in any field but certainly also in the Arts & Humanities. If a title has English language abstracts, appears regularly and is peer reviewed it may be eligible for inclusion in Scopus. Check out the process and, if it’s not included yet, please suggest your favorite journal to Scopus.



Guest post authored by Max Dumoulin, Director Sales Enablement at Elsevier