Transform published data into actionable insights

Whether an advanced scientist is performing interdisciplinary research or an undergraduate student is learning about a subject for the first time, every researcher will encounter unfamiliar terms, concepts, and discoveries within their work. In order to contextualize this information and leverage it toward new insights, researchers often turn either to search engines like Google or to books and journals they’re already familiar with.

But information from journals is sometimes siloed — and they typically provide advanced explanations rather than foundational summaries, which are crucial for researchers learning about a new topic. Explanatory summaries in books, meanwhile, can be much harder to find, because scientific platforms often surface journal articles first. As a result, researchers need a new way of finding the crucial fundamental knowledge provided by book content — right at the point when they most need it.

ScienceDirect Topics meets this essential need by enabling researchers to cut through the tangle of disconnected data. Using advanced technology, each ScienceDirect topic page aggregates the most relevant and succinct sections of book chapters to provide a comprehensive overview of a topic. These topic pages significantly streamline research workflows by giving researchers the tools they need to get up to speed. The summaries on topic pages accelerate interdisciplinary learning, empowering researchers to arrive at new breakthroughs before their competitors do.

Topic pages maximize the utility of book and journal content available on ScienceDirect

Each Topic page showcases contextual book content, hyperlinked from key terms within journal articles. This content aggregation is powered by innovative natural language processing algorithms, which analyze thousands of books to extract the most relevant excerpts. These analyses enable topic pages to deliver the right content at the right time and within a researcher’s natural workflow — simplifying cumbersome manual processes into a few simple clicks.

Each topic page is freely accessible from Google and other public search engines, where many researchers begin their investigations. This intuitive new system empowers researchers to quickly branch out their investigations across dozens of related topical areas, to any level of depth they require.

The primary goal of ScienceDirect Topics is to combine content with technological intelligence in order to enhance researchers’ operational efficiency at converting information into answers. By dramatically increasing the utility of content available on ScienceDirect, topic pages make information more targeted, more discoverable, and more accessible than ever — which means users can make more informed decisions and achieve meaningful results more quickly.

ScienceDirect Topics are available now — and will evolve in the future

"Topic pages are one step towards an overall vision of getting users exactly the right information at the right point in their workflow. They represent an important stage in the process of surfacing citable, trustworthy foundational content." Bryan Davies, VP Product Solutions, Elsevier

In September 2017, we launched more than 80,000 Topic pages in Neuroscience, Biomedical Science, and Life Sciences. ScienceDirect has already witnessed an explosion of usage of Topic pages, and traffic continues to increase every month. The current Topic pages have generated significant engagement, with millions of visits to the pages in just a few months. Additionally, 55% of these visits are by return users, which suggests that these researchers are finding value in the pages and returning to look at additional pages. We have heard from many users about the benefits of the Topic pages in their research, education and learning, including:

"My students gained a greater ability to further curate their own research and felt an increased level of confidence when using the Topic pages on ScienceDirect." Elaine Reynolds, Associate Professor of Biology and Neuroscience, Lafayette College, and development partner for ScienceDirect Topics
"They helped me to understand a topic that I was having trouble finding information on. This saved me a lot of time because if I hadn’t found the Topic pages, I would have spent hours researching the University library." User of ScienceDirect Topics, March 2018*

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ScienceDirect Topics is a visionary enhancement, and we work continually to advance this indispensable feature, using cutting-edge technology to ensure that we keep up with researcher needs. We will launch more than 30,000 new Topic pages in the following subject areas:

  • Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Food Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Materials Science and Materials Engineering

These new Topic pages will streamline understanding for an ever-widening circle of researchers, and an even broader range of Topic pages are slated for launch in the near future. By the end of 2018, ScienceDirect Topics will include over 110,000 pages, hyperlinked from more than a million journal articles on ScienceDirect. This means that, for many researchers, the days of frustrating data silos have ended — and that connected, intelligently indexed insights are here to stay.

*Source: TechValidate. TVID: B35-E3B-316