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Connect - ScienceDirect pilot aims to improve research discovery and access

August 8, 2022 | 5 min read

By Rose L’Huillier

ELS Editorial Illustration Partnership

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

Update: ScienceDirect pilot extended 

In January 2022, Elsevier announced a six-month joint pilot with the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Royal Society of Chemistry, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley to make selected articles from these publishers discoverable through ScienceDirect. IUCr Journalsopens in new tab/window, published by the International Union of Crystallography, the leading scientific union committed to promoting international cooperation in crystallography, has now joined the initiative.  As initial researcher feedback on the pilot has been positive, all participants have agreed to extend the pilot for another six months, until February 2023. This will enable researchers to benefit from the initiative for a full year and help us to learn more about seasonal trends in how researchers discover and access the content included in the pilot.​ ScienceDirectopens in new tab/window 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 Societyopens in new tab/window, the Royal Society of Chemistryopens in new tab/windowTaylor & Francis opens in new tab/windowand Wileyopens in new tab/window 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 articlesopens in new tab/window 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 Wilsonopens in new tab/window, 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 GetFTRopens in new tab/window 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 Toleropens in new tab/window, 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 Kulpopens in new tab/window, 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 ScienceDirectopens in new tab/window.


How long will the pilot last?

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

Will all ScienceDirect users be able to access this content?

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.

How does this impact submissions as an author for the participating publishers’ journals?

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.

Do I need to do anything as a customer/user?

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 Centeropens in new tab/window.

Will you include more articles and subject areas in the future?

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.