Information analytics: Uniting content and technology to serve the science, technology and health communities

An annual look at our performance data, recent highlights – and evidence of Elsevier emerging as an information analytics provider

The academic community needs new tools to support more efficient and productive work. At Elsevier, we combine rich content, data and vast author networks on smart platforms that make researchers more effective and better equipped to share their research.

Who is Elsevier? It’s a simple question but not so easily answered for a business that’s been around over 137 years, with a brand that dates back 400 years. Our new corporate brochure shows that we are many things: a digital provider, a big data business, an analytics leader, a digital education provider and a global partner as well as the global leader in science, technical and medical publishing.

Elsevier’s new descriptor

Elsevier is a global information analytics provider specializing in science and health.

We are also a technology provider. Through SciVal, more universities are asking us for “big data”-driven insights that help them set the course for their future.

With Sherpath, students are receiving personalized learning and recommendations that help them get the knowledge they need in the areas they need the most support.

ScienceDirect has sophisticated search and retrieval tools that make it easy to discover more relevant journal articles and book chapters.

Learn more about Elsevier’s technology capabilities

Elsevier is in a unique position to meet increased demand because we can apply smart technology to mass quantities of structured data. We employ over 1,000 technologists and deploy machine learning, natural language processing, and sophisticated visualization across vast quantities of data. We are leveraging a deep understanding of our customers to create and acquire innovative solutions that combine content and data with analytics and technology in global platforms that help users make important decisions.

Here are some examples of other technology attributes:

  • ScienceDirect analyzes more than a billion data points to generate article recommendations that bring the right research to our users when they need it.
  • Over 475 million facts are extracted from ScienceDirect using machine learning.
  • We invest $400 million in technology annually.
  • 500 million standardized assessment items have been administered to North American students in nursing and health by HESI.

The quality content our technology overlays is – and always will be – at the core of what we do. Harnessing deep domain knowledge remains a core foundation and a distinct strength. To that end, 2016 was another banner year for serving an ever-growing number of researchers, institutions and readers. Some key data from 2016 include:

  • 1.5 million research papers were submitted (up from 1.3 million in 2015)
  • Elsevier published more than 24,000 author-pays and sponsored open access articles, up over 22 percent, making us the world’s 2nd largest open access publisher (behind Springer Nature).
  • 20,000 “level 1” editors managed the peer review and selection process (L1 editors are those actively managing papers, and nearly all are paid. An additional 60,000 editors serve on our Journal editorial boards performing a wide variety of editorial responsibilities, some of which are paid.)
  • We published 420,000 articles in about 2,500 journals, accounting for about 16 percent of the world’s scientific articles. (Up from 400,000 articles in 2015).
  • 14 million monthly ScienceDirect users downloaded 900 million full-text articles from a database of 14 million pieces of content and 30,000 e-books. (This is up from 12 million monthly users who downloaded just under 900 million full texts in 2015.)
  • Elsevier has published 163 of the 164 of the science and economics Nobel Prize winners since 2000.
  • Our content is available for free or very low cost in over 100 countries and territories in the developing world through Research4Life, a UN partnership initiative.

Other recent highlights

It’s been an exciting year for other reasons too. We acquired SSRN, the popular preprint server that provides us with the ability to serve researchers at an earlier stage of knowledge sharing. It also helps us extract more valuable data around publication and usage trends, which we can feed back to authors and institutions, providing them with even more insights about what they have done, and could be doing in the future.

Since the acquisition, SSRN has redesigned its website with an improved user interface and is currently expanding beyond the social sciences into the physical sciences. SSRN added over 28,000 new authors in 2016 with a total of over 330,000 authors sharing research today. Article volume has increased by over 78,000 new research papers, all while we’ve maintained our pledge to keep SSRN free to upload and download.

In December, we introduced the new CiteScore “basket of metrics,” providing a new, free and more transparent way for institutional customers to compare journal quality. For individual researchers, we acquired Plum Analytics in January, and gave users a free set of social-based metrics to track their own research that previously required a subscription.

Our business also responded quickly to develop free resource centers with articles and analytics to help inform the public, policymakers and researchers about important current events. We’ve long provided free disease related information, but have expanded into such topics as Brexit, The Cancer Moonshot and Gender research.

Excellent content and excellent service have always been and will continue to be at the heart of our business. Everything we do to support our customers – technology, operations, product development, management, people and much more – reflects our best knowledge and ability, our best effort and a constant willingness to improve their work.

Supporting open access

Elsevier published more than 24,000 author-pays and sponsored open access articles in 2016, up over 22 percent, making us the 2nd largest open access publisher.


Written by

Tom Reller

Written by

Tom Reller

As Vice President, Global Communications and Head of Business Partnerships at Elsevier, Tom Reller leads a team responsible for linking Global Communications to the Business Units (BUs) and is responsible for understanding BU business needs and applying the right set of communications messages, tactics and programs to help them achieve their objectives. Together, his team works to build on Elsevier's reputation by promoting the company's numerous contributions to the health and science communities, many of which are brought to life in Elsevier’s online community and information resource: Elsevier Connect. Tom also serves as Elsevier’s lead communications representative, acting as the company’s spokesperson and develops and implements strategies for external and internal corporate communications, including media relations, issue management, policy communications, and other proactive outreach.


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