Every second, 22 articles are downloaded from ScienceDirect
A look at the numbers behind Elsevier’s full-text database of journal articles and books
By Harald Boersma Posted on 21 March 2013
Every year our product groups compile data on how well they performed to include in the Reed Elsevier Annual Report. This year, metrics on article usage stood out.
The first pertains to the core reason Elsevier exists: providing high-quality scientific information.
In 2012, approximately 700 million full-text articles were downloaded from ScienceDirect – that’s 22 articles per second and 12% increase from 2011. These articles were downloaded by an average of nearly 10 million unique users each month, with the number reaching 11 million per month in the fourth quarter.
How do we come up with these numbers? Basically, we count machine cookies. In doing this, we make a distinction between customer users and guest users. The 10 million figure is based on the machine cookies we counted for our customer accounts only. This means that the actual number of visitors is a lot higher, as there are 10 million guest account users who don’t have subscription access.
So it’s safe to say that the actual number of unique visitors is between 10 and 20 million, but we can’t be precise due to some overlap between our customer and guest-user accounts.
Either way, those who are looking for authoritative research have come to the right place. There are now more than 11 million articles accessible via ScienceDirect, and we expect to add another 365,000 this year. Those final articles will come from over 1 million article submissions that will produce more than 1.3 million review reports. To store all this data, we use 11 terabytes (11,000 GB) of server space for ScienceDirect.
These figures are an indication of what I’d call our scientific footprint. It reminds of the enormous responsibility we have to serve millions of scientists with the content, platforms and tools to make sure they can be great at what they do. But it also reminds us to focus on what makes ScienceDirect so popular; we can never let the “numbers” obscure what’s most important – the needs of the individual user.
Ultimately our job is to make ScienceDirect a great platform one user at a time. For those of you who have given us feedback to make these improvements, we thank you.
Elsevier’ Top 10 journals
- The Lancet
- Tetrahedron Letters
- Food Chemistry
- Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
- Bioresource Technology
- Journal of Power Source
- Journal of the American College of Cardiology
Harald Boersma (@hboersma) is Director of Global Corporate Relations at Elsevier. He is based in Amsterdam.