Elsevier launches SciVerse, integrates ScienceDirect + Scopus + More

Elsevier on Saturday launched SciVerse, the new Elsevier platform that combines ScienceDirect (fulltext journal articles) and Scopus (abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature). In 2011 SciTopics (research summaries) will also be integrated and outside developers will be able to build SciVerse applications (Elsevier and 3rd party tools that integrate with ScienceDirect and Scopus). Current users of Scopus and ScienceDirect can continue to use these services or access them from the SciVerse platform.

Both the ScienceDirect and Scopus service are not available this evening, put the new SciVerse functionality should be available in a few hours. As I had no access to SciVerse prior to the launch today, I will need a few days to have a closer look at both the integration of existing products, and the new features. But obviously missing from the announcement is 2collab, Elsevier's social bookmarking service that integrates with Scopus and ScienceDirect.

Reference managers a few years ago started to store the PDFs of fulltext articles associated with a citation. It is no surprise to see the same trend from developers of abstracts databases. The integration of Scopus with ScienceDirect almost looks like Elsevier's answer to PubMed/PubMed Central. The recently launched UK PubMed Central is doing a particularly nice job integrating abstracts and fulltext articles.

The most interesting aspect of SciVerse is the possibility for 3rd party developers to access the service via APIs and to develop both free and commercial applications. We will see whether SciVerse develops into an open platform that works with other publishers, funders and institutions, or whether SciVerse will become a very large data silo. Elsevier's Rafael Sidi writes that Open data and open APIs offer huge opportunities for research and innovation, and earlier this week Mendeley's Jason Hoyt wrote something similar. Data is also at the heart of the business models of many web-based companies – let's hope that these two interests don't collide.

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10 Responses to Elsevier launches SciVerse, integrates ScienceDirect + Scopus + More

  1. Maxine Clarke says:

    Looking forward to your review of the service, Martin, it sounds intriguing.

  2. David Crotty says:

    Can someone explain to me the point of these sorts of expensive developments from publishers (see also the new improved SpringerLink)? Every study I’ve seen shows that researchers use information sources that span the entire literature (Google, Google Scholar, PubMed, Web of Science) rather than searching within one publisher’s holdings. Does anyone actually look for papers on a given subject but only want to see those published by Elsevier? Researchers read papers, not journals, and certainly not publishers. Is there any point in investing in a big internal search capability like this?

  3. Michael Habib says:

    Hi David,
    This is one of the reasons for SciVerse. The goal is an integrated search across ScienceDirect, Scopus, and Web Content. Indexing nearly 18,000 titles from more than 5,000 international publishers, Scopus is one of the largest abstracting and citation databases. The Web Content includes content from other publishers, repositories, etc. (Scopus is only included in the integrated search for Scopus customers.)
    The applications will be the other big advance in SciVerse, but we are still laying the foundation at this point.

  4. David Crotty says:

    Thanks Michael,
    So am I to assume then that this is meant to be a broad, open search facility to cover all of the literature? I guess the emphasis on ScienceDirect and the noting that this is Elsevier’s platform in the promotional material that I’ve seen made it sound more focused on Elsevier’s content rather than material from other publishers.
    What exactly is meant by “targeted web content”? Is content from one particular entity favored in any way over content from another? How are decisions made as to what content is included and excluded?
    If it’s to achieve any traction, broad, fair and inclusive must be emphasized. And still at that, it must offer clear and obvious advantages over the methods currently in use to drive users to switch.

  5. Martin Fenner says:

    Michael, thanks for answering that question. Will you also talk about this on Friday at Science Online London?
    David, I like Scopus for literature searches, and not just for Elsevier products. I’m getting more and more annoyed that PubMed returs results by date – relevance is much better. Even “Scopus for iPhone”:http://www.info.sciverse.com/scopus/mobile (renamed SciVerse Scopus Alerts for iPhone) is a nice product (and also works if you’re not in your institutional domain).
    Maxine, I like the SciVerse search. Not only do you get results from many different sources (as Michael mentioned), but you also also have a “faceted search”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faceted_search that let’s you refine your results (e.g. limit to publication year, search within results). PLoS in June also launched a “faceted search”:http://www.plos.org/cms/node/527, I think in Nature you can currently refine search results only by journal. I first really looked into faceted search when I “installed BibApp for our university”:http://blogs.nature.com/mfenner/2010/05/03/bibapp-mashups-for-universities (BibApp uses Apache Solr for that), and it looks really powerful to me.

  6. David Crotty says:

    Have you tried GoPubMed?

  7. Martin Fenner says:

    David, I like GoPubMed (I think you have mentioned it on this blog before). Only small complaint is that the interface is a bit cluttered.

  8. Michael Habib says:

    Hub (the integrated search) relevancy ranking is designed to be publisher neutral and to deduplicate records. That said, this is a beta version and it isn’t perfect yet. We are still experimenting with the best ways to balance fulltext and abstract sources.
    The web-content is basically an updated Scirus index. For the most recent overview of the Scirus content you can visit: http://www.scirus.com/srsapp/aboutus/#how
    For example, “626,000 full-text documents from Nature Publishing Group” at last count.
    Scopus itself is 100% publisher neutral in everything it does.
    I am going to discuss the yet to be released SciVerse Application Marketplace, which builds on this recent release.

  9. David Crotty says:

    Michael, thanks. Sounds more promising than my initial impression.

  10. Martin Fenner says:

    Thanks Michael, “your session”:http://www.scienceonlinelondon.org/programme.php?tab=abstracts#breakout8 is going to be a very interesting.