Publishing Innovation

New Apps Boost Mobile Access to Articles

Ensuring our journals are ideally placed to meet the mobile access needs of readers

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The way we consume information is changing and one of our key goals at Elsevier is to ensure our journals are ideally placed to meet the mobile access needs of readers.

Over the past two years, Elsevier has released a series of tools which:

  • Offer existing subscribers mobile access;
  • make it easier to find and read journal articles;
  • reach new audiences on devices like iPads; and
  • innovate with new mobile products and services.

Institution-affiliated researchers

The ScienceDirect mobile phone app for Apple and Android devices allows users to search across the full content on the platform, retrieve and read full-text articles, and personalize their reading experience (bookmark articles of interest, forward for later use in research, share articles, etc...). By 2013, all users will also be able to browse by journal name or subject area, to personalize ‘My Journals’, and to receive alerts when new content matches their search query. The same app is also available for the iPad, with the Android tablet version in development.

The Scopus Alerts app (Apple and Android) enables users to create notifications that will keep them up-to-date, e.g., when their paper has been cited or a new paper is published in their area of specialty. They can also annotate and share articles.

The apps are provided at no additional cost and they allow existing journal subscribers to use their previously paid-for services remotely.

In addition, Elsevier has been investing in the main websites for ScienceDirect and Scopus to make them easier to read on mobile device web browsers.

Individual subscribers

All personal subscribers to Health and Medical Science publications can use the Health Advance Journals™ mobile app to browse the latest issues of a journal or search for an article. Personal subscribers to Science & Technology publications can do the same using the Elsevier JournalViewer app, which allows subscribers to selected journals to view abstracts, full texts and PDFs.

The Health Advance Journals™ app, available for bothiPad and Android, launched in April this year, and in addition to full-text article viewing, users can pin favorite journals to the app homepage as well as search for, bookmark and share articles.

We have also launched 20 journal-branded native iPad apps through a pilot project. We began by developing a template we could apply to a select group of journals with either a broad personal subscriber base or a substantial affiliated society membership. Now just a year old, the pilot apps, many of which are for leading journals in their medical specialties, have undergone two upgrades and will receive a full redesign of the user interface at the beginning of next year. Available via the iTunes App Store and Apple’s Newsstand for publications, the apps currently allow you to:

  • Browse each new monthly issue;
  • read abstracts and full texts or retrieve the original PDF, including articles published ahead of print;
  • play in-article videos;
  • save articles for offline reading;
  • bookmark key articles and take notes for later;
  • email useful images or articles;
  • post useful articles on your Facebook or Twitter account for colleague awareness;
  • search locally stored content; and
  • sign up for automatic article download via Push Notifications.

A scheduled upgrade will introduce an iPhone version, full-screen reading mode, article swiping, offline storage and reading, and an in-article reference pop-up. In 2013, we plan to apply the lessons we have learned to our new design, ask users for their feedback and then look at extending the pilot.

Elsevier's key mobile apps at a glance

For institutionally-affiliated researchers:

ScienceDirectScienceDirect: Find and read your subscribed Elsevier article or book chapter while you are away from your desk.
iPhone app | Android app

ScopusScopus Alerts: Find articles, create alerts, make notes, and share links instantly.
iPhone and iPad app | Android app

For individual personal subscribers:

HealthAdvanceHealth Advance Journals: Enables full-text reading of more than 500 Elsevier health and medical journals for journal subscribers.
iPhone and iPad app
| Android app

Journal-ViewerElsevier JournalViewer: Provides access to Elsevier journal content (abstract and full text) to journal Editors and personal subscribers.
iPad app

lancetThe Lancet: Offers current subscribers rapid access to recently published content.
iPad app

cellCell: Allows you to keep up to date with articles published in Cell Press research journals.
iPhone and iPad app

urologyThe Journal of Urology: Keep up with the most important advances in the science and practice of urology.
iPad app

reaxysReactionFlash™: Launched by the Reaxys® team in 2011, this app allows organic chemists to learn about and explore Named Reactions.*
iPhone and iPad app

We plan to keep you up to date with developments via Editors’ Update and other Elsevier channels and we always value your views. You can direct questions/comments about your publication to your Publisher or you are welcome to post comments below.

* Reaxys®, the Reaxys® and ReactionFlash™ trademarks are owned and protected by Reed Elsevier Properties SA. All rights reserved.

Author Biography

Cynthia B ClarkCynthia B Clark
Cynthia has been with Elsevier for seven years, primarily as product manager for the Health Advance platform. This role affords her the opportunity to support the digital journal business with our global health science publishers and society partners, as well as to help shape the platform development and direction within the larger Elsevier team. Recent projects include managing the operations of our new mobile apps and leading the migration task force of our platform upgrade and migration project. Cynthia loves to solve problems and finds puzzles a challenge. Fortunately, she has opportunities for both in her work.

Archived comments

Felix Driver says: October 31, 2012 at 8:59 pm
This article on new Apps for accessing Mobile Content lacks objectivity. We get no evaluation at all – the article reads like a series of press releases. This might be OK for investors but it is not good enough for journal editors used to evidence-based evaluation.
I have a specific query about Science Direct Apps and a general point about support. My query is about the inability to access a certain file-type (Book Reviews) in the journal which I edit on mobile devices like iPads and iPhones. I raised this in the normal way with Elsevier's support team and it took a very long time (TWO months!) to get a proper response. Finally, I was told by the HelpDesk Coordinator that he had investigated the issue and "It is not possible to view this type of content" [ie book reviews] on a mobile device.
Come on Elsevier! Sort this out and tell us about it honestly, rather than sending out happy-clappy marketing to your hard-pressed editors. And sort out your support for mobile users, which to judge from my experience is far below industry standards.

Jeffrey Dix, Product Manager for the ScienceDirect Mobile Application says: December 6, 2012 at 9:20 am
Dear Dr Driver,

Thank you very much for taking the time to comment – I know your time is valuable – and I do apologize for the delay in responding. I will also email you directly so you have my contact details and please feel free to get in touch if any of your questions remain unanswered.

First, just to give you a little background, this article was developed in response to requests from a number of editors for an update on our mobile activities.

Re. the specific question you have posted, thank you for doing that – questions and comments like yours provide our team with invaluable background.

To address your statement regarding Book Reviews not being accessible within the ScienceDirect mobile application, the initial design of this application was to provide access to regular journal content first. The intent was to measure and understand the validity of any mobile application within the researcher world; e.g. can we address the complexities of campus-wide IP access and user-registrations? Will researchers start their workflow via a ScienceDirect mobile app considering research projects need wider-latitude searching? During the app design stages we worked with a well-respected User Centered Design group to conduct interviews with researchers and scientists. The app design reflects input and feedback provided by several thousand editors involved with Elsevier journals. Elsevier is currently re-evaluating our mobile offerings based on user studies and user comments such as yours. Our intention is to continue to improve and enhance them in the near future.

Elsevier's Global Customer Services reports that it has invested a significant amount of time training each of the call-center reps across three continents and time zones regarding Elsevier's more than 100 mobile applications, but it realizes there is more to do in this regard. We are in close coordination so the team now knows to escalate to me any ScienceDirect mobile app queries they cannot quickly resolve.

Again, thank you for your comments; these are valuable insights to show us where we can improve. Elsevier is committed to providing the necessary tools and information to its product users and editors. Please be patient with us and do look for an update to our mobile offerings in 2013.

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