ScienceDirect Topics

What if the path not taken is the path to discovery?

Combining cutting-edge technology and essential content, ScienceDirect Topics is a research enhancement that brings the path of discovery to you.

Explore the topic pages

ScienceDirect Topics header image


13 million visits
on average per month

topic pages in 20 disciplines

Hyperlinked from over
4.8 million journal articles

Your path to discovery

Researchers at every stage of their scientific careers encounter unknown terms and concepts and require background and contextual knowledge to progress. But finding one’s path through a literature search can be overwhelming. It is easy to be caught up in siloed information, untrusted sources and site hopping just to explore a single unknown idea or topic.

That is why we created ScienceDirect Topics. Our free topic pages provide readers with a comprehensive database of reliable background and contextual knowledge making it easy to get up to speed with new and unfamiliar concepts. They connect you to summarized knowledge and act as a discovery tool for further trusted reading, making this the ideal environment for intuitive learning and for sparking your creativity.

How ScienceDirect Topics works

ScienceDirect Topics creates an interactive, seamless and convenient reading experience by bringing comprehensive, credible and interdisciplinary knowledge when it is most needed in the research process.

Topic pages on ScienceDirect are generated using innovative and automated technology for information extraction.

By applying natural language processing and AI techniques to published content they surface the most relevant snippets of information from Reference Books in succinct, summarized pages. They are discoverable through search engines, hyperlinked from key terms in journals and book chapters, as well as being directly searchable on ScienceDirect.

ScienceDirect Topics:

  • Are free to access through ScienceDirect
  • Offer hundreds of thousands of comprehensive and topical web pages
  • Give definitions and related terms for each concept
  • Provide snippets of high-quality, relevant, peer-reviewed content
  • Are highly discoverable through search engines
  • Include content enriched with hyperlinks to other topics of interest
  • Are linked to from journal articles and book chapters across ScienceDirect
  • Are available across all scientific disciplines on ScienceDirect
Click on the image above to see the detail

View an example topic page on ScienceDirect

Learn about the technology behind ScienceDirect Topics in the following resources:

Article: Technology + content = a better research process

Infographic: The artificial intelligence behind ScienceDirect Topics (PDF, 0kb)

ScienceDirect Topics for students, researchers and academics

ScienceDirect Topics provides a robust starting point for your research by giving structure to the often overwhelming and disjointed research process.

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  • Makes essential answers from published, peer-reviewed books more accessible
  • Provides authoritative introductory overviews to help you understand and interpret scientific literature
  • Expedites research while increasing the depth of your understanding on a topic
  • Enables quick exploration of a novel subject when carrying out interdisciplinary research

Learn more about ScienceDirect Topics (PDF, 784.3 KB)

  • Offers an easy, interactive experience for students learning a new concept or understanding a journal article
  • Assures professors that the content their students are using is reliable and authoritative
  • Increases research speed and convenience with hyperlinked terms from within journal articles and book chapters across ScienceDirect
  • Extracts content from a range of book sources to connect the dots between ideas, facilitating cognitive leaps to move discoveries forward

ScienceDirect Topics for librarians

ScienceDirect Topics enables librarians to better guide researchers on their path to discovery.

View an example topic page on ScienceDirect

Guide your patrons to the path to discovery (PDF, 796.1 KB)

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ScienceDirect Topics provides a necessary bridge between journals and books which helps to speed up research outcomes, foster insight and improve your patrons’ knowledge and understanding of a subject area. The frequent use of topic pages alongside journal articles demonstrates how essential it is for content to be available from a mixture of resources – journals, books and reference works – in order for your patrons to successfully conduct research, teach or master their coursework.

  • Ensures that researchers are accessing and using the most accurate and reliable resources
  • Increases discoverability of books
  • Encourages the co-usage of books, reference works and journals
  • Improves research productivity and research performance at your institution
  • Provides data on researcher behavior for better curation that fills connective gaps
  • Improves the return on your investment in content

Learn how your collection can benefit from ScienceDirect Topics

ScienceDirect Topics for authors

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ScienceDirect Topics enables access to high-quality content from our authors.

ScienceDirect Topics brings researchers in touch with important and relevant foundational knowledge by creating bridges between journal articles, books and search engines. Using machine-learning techniques and enriched metadata, your essential publications are seamlessly placed within researchers’ natural paths during online searches.

  • Increases the accessibility of your published work through enhanced discovery and search engine optimization
  • Brings researchers in touch with your important and relevant contributions
  • Creates an essential bridge between journal articles and book chapters

Learn more about authoring or editing a book