Innovation in Publishing

Sharing research with the public in an easy-to-digest form

New virtual journal Atlas and STM Digest will provide accessible explanations of research papers that impact on society

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There is growing pressure on the academic community to demonstrate the value of its research to a wider readership.

Elsevier has developed two new initiatives to support researchers in this goal and help them reach beyond their usual academic audiences:

  • Atlas is a virtual journal and monthly award recognizing research that significantly impacts on people's lives around the world.
  • STM Digest is a new service presenting Elsevier's published research to the general public in a digestible format.

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Atlas LogoAtlas

With the slogan "Research for a better world," Atlas will aim to show the value of science and scientific publishing in ways that resonate with current global challenges. Relevant research articles will be summarized by journalists, and presented alongside podcasts, videos and interviews with the authors.

The first Atlas articles are now online:

How Atlas works

Each article will be handpicked by an external advisory board that includes representatives of some of the world's most renowned non-governmental organizations (NGOs). They will choose from a shortlist of articles suggested by the publishers of Elsevier's almost 2,200 journals. The key criterion for selection will be the social impact of the research.

Once selected the author/s of the article will be presented with the Atlas award and our science writers will work with them to turn their research into an easy-to-understand story. The selected articles will also be made freely available on ScienceDirect.

Whereas other Elsevier-owned journals sit on ScienceDirect, Atlas lives on Elsevier.com, with articles also posted on our company-wide community site, Elsevier Connect. You can follow the journal on Twitter: @ElsevierAtlas.

Although the journal has launched with three articles, it will initially add one new article per month which will fall into one of four broad categories: people, planet, resources, and technology.

Dr. Floris de Hon, Publishing Director for Life Sciences at Elsevier, and Zoe Mullan, Editor of The Lancet Global Health, present the first Atlas Award to Katie Greenland, Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (center).

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STM Digest

STM Digest LogoSTM Digest is a collection of summaries of original research papers with social impact or a focus on policy. These summaries have the potential to make research more accessible, improve engagement in science, and benefit wider society. They will be published online next to the original article on ScienceDirect and will be freely available. 

The pilot will initially highlight articles in Elsevier's Environmental & Ecology and Economics & Finance journals and will likely expand to include other portfolios in 2015.

STM Digest's first articles are now available; below we highlight a small selection:

  • "Behavioural and transcriptional changes in the amphipod Echinogammarus marinus exposed to two antidepressants, fluoxetine and sertraline", Aquatic Toxicology
  • "Harmonising conflicts between science, regulation, perception and environmental impact: The case of soil conditioners from bioenergy", Environment International
  • "The biological effects of antidepressants on the molluscs and crustaceans: a review", Aquatic Toxicology

How STM Digest works

The initiative is a collaboration between Elsevier's STM Journals group and the cloud-based research management and social collaboration platform, Mendeley.

Research Ambassadors, who are early career researchers, will work closely with the publishers and editors of specific Elsevier journals in their area of expertise to monitor recently accepted papers each month and select the most relevant papers for the STM Digest. The Ambassadors will then write clear summaries of the selected journal articles and, with the approval of the article authors, those summaries will be published alongside the original research article on ScienceDirect, and will feature on the relevant journal's homepage on Elsevier.com.

A Mendeley STM Digest Group will provide a virtual meeting space to discuss the summaries and they will be shared with a wider audience via Mendeley's social media sharing facility. Articles that are not open access will be made freely available for three months, and authors are encouraged to share a link to their article via email and social networks.

You can follow news from STM Digest on Twitter @STMDigest 

Interested in becoming a Research Ambassador?

Some of the benefits include:

  • The chance to work closely with journal authors, editors, publishers and the Mendeley team
  • Access to new and novel research
  • Full access to ScienceDirect and Scopus
  • A Mendeley Premium Account
  • Inclusion in the new Mendeley Resources group, with the opportunity to talk with fellow Ambassadors and share best practices 
  • The possibility of your translations being included in Mendeley's Advisor and Librarian newsletters
  • A stepping stone to becoming a journal reviewer, author, Editorial Board member or editor

Learn more about the program and how to apply to become a Research Ambassador.

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Contributor biographies

Dr. Floris De Hon Following his PhD in Molecular Immunology at the Central Laboratory of the Netherlands Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service (now Sanquin), Dr. Floris de Hon did a science journalism course and worked with Excerpta Medica, a medical communication company once owned by Elsevier. Floris joined Elsevier in 2003. In his current role as Publishing Director, Applied Biosciences, he is responsible for an international team managing more than 120 peer-reviewed scientific journals, various conferences and other information solutions. Floris is the project lead for Atlas,an idea he developed with various colleagues during multiple high-impact content workshops.
Deirdre Dunne Deirdre Dunne is co-creator and project lead of STM Digest. She has been with Elsevier for 12 years in various publishing roles in Life Sciences, Social Sciences and now Physical Sciences, where she is Publisher of the Environmental Science & Health journals (@EnvSciHealth). She is passionate about working with authors and early career researchers to disseminate research and connect interdisciplinary communities. She holds many author and reviewer workshops on how to write and review research articles. She is based in Amsterdam.
Donna de Weerd-Wilson Donna de Weerd-Wilson (@dDeWeerd) is co-creator and project lead of STM Digest. She is also Executive Publisher of Elsevier's Economics journals, based in Amsterdam. Having worked with Elsevier for 16 years in production, product management and publishing roles, serving a variety of different research communities, she is driven by the need to provide researchers, authors and editors with creative solutions to issues they face in their daily working life. To this end, she is constantly thinking of ways to innovate and improve on the products and services we offer.
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