Why “co-usage” matters — using books alongside journals

Elsevier has done qualitative studies of researcher workflows on ScienceDirect.com and found that eBook content is a critical complement to journal content, providing unique benefits to drive research forward. eBooks on ScienceDirect mixed with journals gives your researchers the ability to build knowledge quickly and tools to master important research skills that are critical to their success.

Elsevier's additional analysis of usage data on ScienceDirect bolsters insights drawn from these qualitative studies. The analysis provides a better understanding of the behavior of users, and how often and where they use book content alongside journal content. When users access book and journal content together, we refer to this as a "co-usage session."

What defines a co-usage session on ScienceDirect?

Co-usage sessions are the sessions or visits in which both journal and book content are used. A session or visit begins when a visitor enters the site and ends with 30 minutes of inactivity or 12 continuous hours of activity. The co-usage could be when a user starts on a journal article and then goes on access book chapters, or vice versa.

Download the Infographic on Co-Usage

Download the new infographic where we've distilled the important statistics from our analysis of how books and journals on ScienceDirect work together to impart knowledge, nurture insight, and illuminate new paths for discovery. We've pulled out an example section below:

With more than 35,000 books available on ScienceDirect on top of the journals, this combination of all in one place content provides the following important components to help researchers succeed:

  • Presents all the current research in a given field
  • Distills research from across many journals
  • Curated by expert reviewers
  • Dynamically links researchers to related content elsewhere
  • Retains value for years and often decades

A case study analyzing co-usage of a popular major reference work alongside journals illustrates the value of these complementary content types.

If we view a case of a single book, we can understand the ways in which users interact with that book and with journals while on ScienceDirect. The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd Edition (IESBS) is a renowned reference work, which contains nearly 4,000 chapters, and 146,051 references. Not surprisingly, we find that users are downloading journal articles alongside chapters of this book.

IESBS is the tops the list of total co-usage sessions with journals on the ScienceDirect platform. In a sample month last year, IESBS articles were used alongside journal articles over 34,000 times.

We can deduce from this usage behavior that access to this reference work, and others, contributes to a better (interdisciplinary) understanding of the journal subject areas most often accessed alongside the work. While users access journal articles from numerous other disciplines alongside IESBS chapters, the top 3 journal co-usage areas are social science, psychology, and medicine dentistry.

Fast Facts on ScienceDirect Co-usage of Books and Journals:

  • 6,307: Median number of books used together with journals on ScienceDirect every day
  • 3,007: Each year, an average of 3007 ScienceDirect journals are accessed from a single book in typical co-usage sessions—meaning sessions in which the researcher linked from book to journal, or vice versa
  • 5: The number of different books and journals accessed in an average co-usage session. Books and journals were co-used over four million times in 2015.l, or vice versa.
  • 24: Mathematics is the most interdisciplinary subject, co-used with 24 different subject areas. Of all disciplines, engineering has the most co-usage overall.
  • 568,016: The subject area with the most co-usage is agricultural, biology and food sciences—568,016 annual co-usage sessions.

Download the Infographic on Co-Usage


Contributed by:

Elizabeth Gibson

Elizabeth Gibson, Sales Enablement Manager, Research Reference
Building data-infused tools to serve our customers on ScienceDirect, where we curate and disseminate science content from the world, for the world.

Nancy Rubino

Nancy Rubino, Marketing Manager, ScienceDirect Books
Customer engagement marketing at Elsevier for global web platform ScienceDirect, where we curate and disseminate science content from the world, for the world.