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Elsevier Science Expands and Repackages Its Online Offerings
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Posted On January 22, 2001
Elsevier Science and its ScienceDirect division have made a series of announcements recently about their products and services that are designed to provide customers with increased functionality and greater flexibility in their choices of content and pricing options. First, Elsevier Science announced the launch of Elsevier Science Direct, a portfolio of discipline-specific online research solutions.

In addition to its existing service, ScienceDirect, which covers all scientific disciplines, the Elsevier Science Direct portfolio will feature a number of product lines tailored for individual fields of study, including PhysicsDirect, BioMedDirect, Ei EngineeringDirect, and PharmaDirect OnSite. These highly specialized service offerings will enable customers to select the product that best suits an institution's research and budget requirements.

"With a user community of over 9 million researchers in all fields of science, we recognize that our users have widely different needs," said John Regazzi, Elsevier Science's CEO. "Through the Elsevier Science Direct portfolio, we have set out to create targeted solutions which meet the various research requirements of any institution. Each of these new-product initiatives builds upon our commitment to providing customers with flexible and cost-effective solutions for scientific research and information."

The company also introduced the Next Generation of ScienceDirect—including ScienceDirect Digital Collections, ScienceDirect Navigators, ScienceDirect Web Editions, ScienceDirect OnSite/Hybrid Solutions, and ScienceDirect Portal (Scirus.com)—which enables the customer to access scientific content through an expanded suite of service options with upgraded functionality.

If your eyes are glazing over with this barrage of titles, it really just means that customers can choose how much content they want and how they want it delivered. The new options include the following:

  • ScienceDirect Digital Collections provide various options for subscribing to full-text journal packages. 
  • ScienceDirect Navigators consist of a suite of abstracting-and-indexing (A&I) databases. They are designed to provide enhanced search capabilities and include open linking to allow seamless access to the full-text articles. Users can choose databases and the length of the backfiles.
  • ScienceDirect Web Editions is the entry-level electronic service for print customers. Web Editions provides basic electronic access to 12 rolling months of journals (in Adobe PDF files) as an added value to a subscription at no additional cost. It's designed as an online current-awareness service for the latest journal issues. There's no archiving and no links to A&I services.
  • ScienceDirect OnSite/Hybrid Solutions offers customers the choice of integrating content and services locally on their intranets. 
  • ScienceDirect Portal (Scirus.com), a new Web-based scientific search engine, is currently in beta testing. (For more information, see the December 11, 2000 NewsBreak at http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbreader.asp?ArticleID=17693)


Content is being expanded as well. In December, Elsevier Science announced it would expand the collection of journal backfiles offered on ScienceDirect. The archives, currently dating from 1995, would be extended in some cases as far back as the first volume published. This project is ongoing. In addition, Elsevier Science announced that a series of reference works will be added to ScienceDirect—starting with the 11-volume Comprehensive Clinical Psychology (ccp-online)—which can now can be browsed or searched electronically if users have a subscription to the print version. The new product allows users to link seamlessly from references within the text to abstracts and full-text articles in the primary literature. Free trials are available at http://www.ccp-online.com.

While it can be a bit confusing to sort through the similar names—Elsevier Science Direct for the overall portfolio of online products and ScienceDirect for the corporate division and the service—the additional packaging options and overall improvements should be attractive to users. Given the expanding scope of Elsevier content and the relatively high cost for its services, the ability to take a smaller package of content and services will most likely be greeted positively by cost-conscious customers. An Elsevier representative said that the changes have been made in response to customer requests. He described the changes as creating a matrix of choices for customers, with subjects along one axis and service options along the other axis. Actually, charting it out might not be a bad idea.

Here's a list of URLs for information about Elsevier Science and its related sites.

Elsevier Science (http://www.elsevier.com) is part of the Reed Elsevier plc group (http://www.reed-elsevier.com). Elsevier Science Direct (http://www.elseviersciencedirect.com) is the "electronic publishing portfolio" of Elsevier Science. ScienceDirect (http://www.sciencedirect.com) is a division of Elsevier Science and a product platform. To see an example of one of the new subject research solutions, visit PhysicsDirect at http://www.sciencedirect.com/physics.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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