Improvements to access and registration on ScienceDirect

We are improving access, sign in and registration for ScienceDirect through the introduction of a new access management system. This system, which is already in use on Mendeley and several other Elsevier services, will enable users to sign in, register and gain remote access via a common standardised user interface. This will provide your users with:

  • A consistent experience for signing in and creating an Elsevier Account, including improved integration with browser password managers
  • Reliable Single-Sign-On across all Elsevier products eliminating the need for users to sign in again as they move between multiple Elsevier products and services
  • A new, integrated flow for setting up remote access via Shibboleth and email domain confirmation
  • The ability for customers using VPNs or proxy servers for remote access to provide customised instructions for their users
  • All remote access methods available and working consistently across all Elsevier products
  • Full compatibility with mobile devices and apps

ScienceDirect users will start to see the new experience starting in late January/early February 2019 and we will gradually increase the number of users seeing the new screens over the course of about a month.

Throughout 2019, we also plan to update many of the other Elsevier products and services you use to bring the same benefits.

New Look, Same Sign-in

When users sign-in to or register a new account on ScienceDirect, they will do so via a new Elsevier branded user interface:

Figure 1 | Elsevier

These screens have been streamlined to make it easier for users to sign in or register and to make it clearer that the account they are using works across many Elsevier products (as it does today). Note that while the user interface is changing, the underlying account details are the same, so users will not have to re-register or change their passwords.

Once we complete this transition, users will only ever have to enter their Elsevier passwords via the domain, helping to protect users against Phishing attacks and increasing compatibility with browser password managers.

New Remote Access Experience

Users who need to access subscribed content outside of your institutional IP range will be able to use a new screen flow to activate Remote Access. They will be asked to choose their institution or provide an institutional email address. We’ll then direct them to the appropriate remote access mechanism for your institution:

Figure 2 | Elsevier

This flow replaces the former Sign in via your Institution , OpenAthens and Remote Access links on ScienceDirect, bringing together three different mechanisms:

1. Federated access

Allows users to sign into ScienceDirect with their institutional login details. This option is available to customers who are members of any of the Shibboleth federations that we support or who use OpenAthens.

2. Email-domain confirmation

Allows users to confirm their institutional access by clicking a link in an email sent to their institutional email box

3. Institutional instruction text

Enables us to display a customized message from you giving users instructions on how to obtain remote access via your institution. It can be used, for example, to include a link to your institution’s proxy server portal or to provide instructions for signing in via VPN.

A key benefit of this approach is that users no longer need to know or remember which remote access option you’ve selected for your institution, making it much easier for them to access ScienceDirect when working from home or on the road.

If you have not already done so, we invite you to set-up one of the above Remote Access options for your institution. For more details, see this article.

Changes to be Aware Of

As part of the introduction on our new access management system, we are making a few changes to how things work which you should be aware of.

Choose Organization screen

Today, users who have access to ScienceDirect through multiple organizations or access methods sometimes see a Choose Organization screen which they have to click through before they can access the content they are interested in. In the future, we will automatically select the first organization from the list allowing the user to continue directly to ScienceDirect. The simplifies access for the vast majority of users, however we understand that organization choice is important for a few customers, particularly if you  use this mechanism to keep track of internal charge-back reporting. Users will still be able to select among their organizational choices by clicking Change Organization link in the header and if they make a selection, it will be remembered. In the meantime, to reduce the impact, we will display an in-product message on ScienceDirect to all potential customers on ID+ to inform them that an organization might have been chosen automatically for them and guide them to choose an organization if users want to; see the example below:

Screenshot of ScienceDirect main page

Users with non-email address usernames

Users who first registered with us more than 10 years ago and still have a non-email address usernames will need to use their email address to sign-in in the future. If their email address is unique, they will then simply enter their password to complete the sign-in process. However, if the user has multiple accounts under the same email address, they will be sent an email asking them which account they want to sign-in with. This is a one-time process and the selected account will be remembered in the future.

EZProxy Customers

Customers who use EZProxy to provide remote access to ScienceDirect will need to make a small update to their EZProxy configuration file. Elsevier has worked with OCLC to update the recommend configuration settings for EZproxy which are available here.


ScienceDirect users will start to see the new experience starting in late January/early February 2019 and we will gradually increase the number of users seeing the new screens over the course of about a month.


Further information about our new access mechanism is available at: If you encounter any problems, please reach out to use via our normal customer service channels ( ).