ScienceDirect pilot aims to improve research discovery and access

Publishers collaborate with ScienceDirect to better understand how they can help researchers find and access content more easily

By Rose L’Huillier - January 18, 2022  5 mins
Elsevier Editorial Illustration for partnership

ScienceDirect is the home of Elsevier’s journals, books, and titles from our society partners. Over 15 million researchers worldwide use the platform to stay on top of research in their field, find answers to their research questions, and gain insights into trending research topics.

When I speak to these researchers, and in the many sessions we hold to get customer feedback, I’m consistently told that literature review is a very time-intensive process; staying up to date in a field of study can be a real challenge, and it is highly important to find trustworthy information. Researchers also tell us that it would help if we partnered with other publishers to include their important journals on ScienceDirect — that it would make it easier to navigate the sea of research out there on a trusted platform with high quality standards.

Now, the American Chemical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, Taylor & Francis and Wiley will collaborate with ScienceDirect on a six-month pilot project to better understand how we can address these challenges.

During the pilot, researchers will be able to search and browse more than 70,000 articles in 35 journals from these participating publishers, alongside Elsevier’s content on ScienceDirect. The journals are all Organic Chemistry and Transportation titles, including most of the top journals in these fields. As Dr Emma Wilson, Publishing Director of the Royal Society of Chemistry, explained:

This pilot brings together each publisher’s unique and high impact content, together with ScienceDirect’s capabilities in research dissemination to its millions of global users. We want to understand what the benefits are to our readers and customers of providing content in this way.

All ScienceDirect users will be able to view abstracts of the new pilot content. If the content is open access, the full text will be available in HTML, and the PDF will be delivered from the original publisher’s website. If the content is a subscription article, entitled users will seamlessly get full text access through the relevant publisher’s website. Users will be able to see already on ScienceDirect whether they are entitled to the full text through the GetFTR button for participating publishers.

GetFTR is a free-to-use solution for platforms like ScienceDirect that has been developed by several organizations, including Wiley. As Todd Toler, Group VP for Product Strategy and Partnerships at Wiley, explained:

Its real-time entitlement checks mean researchers can more easily access content their institution has made available to them when they are both on or off campus, and whether they are searching the publisher’s platform directly or using a variety of search and discovery tools.

Anything that makes the research we publish more discoverable is always of great interest to us and we are looking forward to participating in this pilot.

We believe that this approach can help make essential research articles easier to find on ScienceDirect, helping maximize library investments by providing entitled content for users in more places. We will analyze the results of the pilot to test this hypothesis. In addition to usage metrics, we will gather user and customer feedback.

Dr Daniel Kulp, Senior Director of Editorial Development for the American Chemical Society, added:

At ACS, we are always looking for new ways tosupport our readers and researchers. This innovative pilot project is an opportunity to ensure that we’re providing the best possible service to our reader community, and we look forward to hearing their feedback.

The ScienceDirect team is very excited to be working on this pilot. We will carry on conversations with our customers and partners about it and update the wider research community on our progress. Meanwhile, you can find more detail in the FAQs below and on ScienceDirect.


The pilot is intended to last between four and six months.

All users will be able to find the content on ScienceDirect; access to subscription content for participating publishers will depend on the institutional or other entitlements of the user, while open access content will be available in full text directly on ScienceDirect.

If you are an author, your article will be visible on ScienceDirect and the original publisher’s platform. We will be testing whether this helps make articles more discoverable.

This pilot will not change any stage of the submission process. There will be basic information about the journal included in the pilot on ScienceDirect, but links to journal information will point to the journal homepage on the original publisher’s platform.

You do not need to do anything as a customer or user; the pilot content will automatically be discoverable on ScienceDirect. If you have further questions, please visit the ScienceDirect Support Center.

Once the pilot concludes, we will assess the impact for research communities through metrics such as usage, user feedback and traffic and communicate the outcomes. If we believe the pilot has proven successful, we will consider how to expand the initiative.


Rose L’Huillier
Written by

Rose L’Huillier

Written by

Rose L’Huillier

Rose L’Huillier is Senior VP for Researcher Products at Elsevier, overseeing ScienceDirect, Mendeley and various other platforms such as and Together with a team of product, technology, UX, analytics and data science professionals, Rose strives to help researchers make the most of the little time they have available by offering advanced platform functionality that makes discovering, evaluating, understanding, and organizing scientific literature significantly easier and faster. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Crossref.

Rose joined Elsevier in 2006 and has worked in various publishing, strategy and product roles. She has an MSc in Econometrics and an MBA from Erasmus University, and an MA in English Literature and an MPhil in Literary Science from Leiden University.

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