Top 10 stories of 2017

Common themes include the drive for diversity in science and health – and how data and technology are being used to improve research

Dr. Temple Grandin teaches a livestock handling class at Colorado State University, where she is Professor of Animal Science. In Elsevier Connect, the renowned autism spokesperson and best-selling author talks about "the kinds of minds science desperately needs." (Photo by Alison Bert)

We published 190 stories on Elsevier Connect last year. Based on the most viewed, we can see that our readers are interested in diversity of mind and gender; innovation in research; and how data analytics and technology are being used to advance our knowledge of science, health and the global research landscape. Overall, Elsevier Connect received nearly 2.7 million views in 2017.

Our contributors are members of the global science, technology and health communities and the Elsevier colleagues who work closely with them, many who also worked as researchers or clinicians.

Thank you to all of our contributors — and congratulations to those who made this list.

1. Temple Grandin on the kinds of minds science desperately needs

By Alison Bert, DMA | 31 March 2017

Prof. Temple Grandin teaches her livestock handling class at Colorado State University. (Photo by Alison Bert)

Has Dr. Temple Grandin achieved success despite her autism or because of it? After spending two days with the esteemed animal science professor and Elsevier author, I suspect it's both. Her proclivity to "think in pictures" lets her experience the world as animals do, she says, while inspiring her fascination with the minds of people, like how our different thinking styles relate to our abilities and aptitudes. In fact, that insight is behind her latest passion: "turning on young students" to science — and not just the usual suspects. Read more.

2. Top trends in health information & communications technology for 2017

By Peter Edelstein, MD | 10 January 2017


Peter Edelstein, MDWith all of the new “smart” information and communications technology (ICT) available today, it’s easy to make the wrong strategic decisions. To achieve sustainable, high quality, cost-efficient healthcare, leaders must understand when and where to invest. Here, Dr. Peter Edelstein, Chief Medical Officer for Clinical Solutions at Elsevier, gives his recommendations, followed by forecasts by the winners and finalists of the 2016 HIMSS-Elsevier Digital Healthcare Awards competition.

3. Three facts about gender equality in science and health

By Chrysanne Lowe | 24 August 2017

<strong>Fact 2: Women punch above their weight when producing impactful science in the US </strong> (Source: <a target="_blank" href="">Infographic</a> based on findings from <em>Gender in the Global Research Landscape</em>, Elsevier 2017)

Gender equality has captured the attention of research institutions worldwide. In science, evidence points to better results when women are included as researchers and research subjects. So how can we move toward gender equality? As Elsevier's Chrysanne Lowe writes:

Much of the gender disparity discussion in science and health is driven by experience and speculation. But successful leaders use data and facts to frame discussions, mobilize action and shape policy.

As an information analytics company, Elsevier investigated the state of gender representation in research in 12 countries and regions over two decades. Based on 20 years of data from Scopus and ScienceDirect, the report provides insight and context as you lead your organization forward on an issue that has captured the attention of institutions worldwide.

This story features three highlights of that report.

4. Gender & Science Resource Center

By the Elsevier Community | 7 March 2017

Visit Elsevier's Gender & Science Resource Center

Elsevier has a wide variety of initiatives to support gender equality in STEM, and gender equality is also a priority in our workplace. In 2017, we harnessed our data and analytical capabilities to provide evidence to inform debate, establish benchmarks for measuring progress, and catalyze policy change. The Gender & Science Resource Center is a source of information for researchers, research leaders, policymakers and anyone else interested in gender diversity and its impact on science and the society. It provides free access to research, data, analyses and other resources.

5. Six ways Elsevier supports sustainability

By Elisa Nelissen, Eva Pigeon and Coralie Bos | 21 June 2017

Visit the <a href="">RELX Group SDG Resource Centre</a> The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals have sparked an array of sustainability initiatives at Elsevier and our parent company, RELX Group. They include the SDG Resource Centre – a free interactive education platform that provides multimedia content related to sustainability research – and the analytical report our Sustainability Science in a Global Landscape, released on the eve the UN ratified its SDGs. Find out how to access these and other free resources.

6. How smart data can lead to serendipitous discovery

By Lucy Goodchild van Hilten | 2 January 2017

Dr. Maarten de Rijke, Professor of Computer Science at Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) and Scientific Director of the Amsterdam Data Science network, says academic-industry partnerships are vital for data science.

While open data ensures that researchers have access to the information, there’s still the task of sorting through it all to uncover what’s relevant – while leaving room for serendipitous discovery. Making data user-friendly requires collaboration between data experts and technology providers to set up the right infrastructure.

A recent partnership with the collaboration network Amsterdam Data Science (ADS) and Elsevier involves ranking datasets in search results. Disruptive Technology Director Dr. Paul Groth of Elsevier Labs explained:

The really challenging thing is to correctly rank which data sets should come up first when you do a search. You don’t have as much information with data as you do with things like documents – imagine a spreadsheet with named columns and rows and rows of numbers, how do you see what the data is about clearly enough to rank it in a search? We're working with Amsterdam Data Science to try to figure out how to do this much better.

See how they're using technology to improve academic search.

7. A university's vision to change the world through research and innovation

By Ian Evans | 1 May 2017

Texas A&M's Albritton Bell Tower (Photo ©

Texas A&M University is embarking on an ambitious plan to become one of the 10 best public universities in the US by 2020. The Vision 2020 initiative aims to strengthen the development of knowledge, innovation and creative works that make an impact on the world. To achieve that goal, university colleagues are putting in place sophisticated tools and systems.

If university departments had easily accessible, up-to-date knowledge about the way the world was engaging with their research, said Director of Scholarly Communications Dr. Bruce Herbert,  they could make decisions that would keep Texas A&M on track to turn Vision 2020 into a reality. Read more.

8. Can a multidisciplinary approach to tourism tackle poverty and support sustainable development?

By Lucy Goodchild van Hilten | 2 June 2017

Dr. Sukanda Luangon Lewis (third from left) with her research team and a local farmer in Nan (right).

Tourism contributes billions to the global economy, but many developing countries pay a hidden price. As science writer Lucy Goodchild van Hilten writes:

In our eagerness to visit more and more remote places, we are changing the once pristine landscapes, putting habitats and biodiversity at risk. At the same time, the people living in the local communities rarely benefit from the tourism, and instead run the risk of losing their livelihoods.

A researcher from Thailand was inspired to tackle this problem after returning from a creative trip to Vietnam, where she made batik cloth with a local craftswoman. Read about the tools and technologies she used to design her research project.

9. Gender in science: "an initiative for change"

By Alison Bert, DMA | 3 March 2017

Dr. Elizabeth Pollitzer at the European Parliament, where the opening session of the Gender Summit Europe was held in November. (Photo by Alison Bert)

Since 2011, women – and a small but growing number of men – have been journeying to Gender Summits dedicated to science. Participants come en masse, many with their own stories of gender bias, their ideas to include more women in science, and evidence showing the impact of their advocacy.

As Gender Summit “architect” Dr. Elizabeth Pollitzer proclaimed from the stage of the European Parliament at a recent gathering:

The Gender Summit is not a conference; it’s an initiative for change.

Indeed, the gender movement has been gaining momentum in recent years, with scientists, policymakers and a growing number of students bringing their own initiatives to the conversation in the hope of improving science not only for women but for its own sake. Meanwhile, policy is increasingly being driven by facts and evidence. Check out the latest initiatives that support this trend.

10. #ElsevierHacks: 2 days to change the face of medical education

By Ian Evans | 29 July 2017

Medical students and developers compete in the Elsevier Hacks event at the Association of Medical Educators in Europe (AMEE) Conference in Helsinki, Finland.

Recently, Elsevier brought together 60 young people from around the world to tackle challenges facing the world’s medical students. Medical students worked with experts in coding and design using our content and the technology that powers our clinical and medical education products. They had 48 hours to turn their ideas into reality.

Elsevier Hacks was held in Helsinki alongside the annual Association of Medical Educators in Europe (AMEE) Conference in August. Check out the event here.


Written by

Alison Bert, DMA

Written by

Alison Bert, DMA

As Executive Editor of Strategic Communications at Elsevier, Dr. Alison Bert works with contributors around the world to publish daily stories for the global science and health communities. Previously, she was Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier Connect, which won the 2016 North American Excellence Award for Science & Education.

Alison joined Elsevier in 2007 from the world of journalism, where she was a business reporter and blogger for The Journal News, a Gannett daily newspaper in New York. In the previous century, she was a classical guitarist on the music faculty of Syracuse University. She received a doctorate in music from the University of Arizona, was Fulbright scholar in Spain, and studied in a master class with Andrés Segovia.

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