Last updated
ScienceDirect logo 2020.svg
Producer Elsevier
HistoryMarch 12, 1997;24 years ago (1997-03-12) [1]
CostSubscription & open access
Record depthIndex, abstract & full-text
Format coverageBooks, journals
Geospatial coverageWorldwide

ScienceDirect is a website which provides access to a large bibliographic database of scientific and medical publications of the Dutch publisher Elsevier. It hosts over 18 million pieces of content from more than 4,000 academic journals and 30,000 e-books of this publisher. [2] [3] The access to the full-text requires subscription, while the bibliographic metadata is free to read. ScienceDirect is operated by the British-Dutch publisher Elsevier. It was launched in March 1997. [4]



The journals are grouped into four main sections: Physical Sciences and Engineering, Life Sciences, Health Sciences, and Social Sciences and Humanities. Article abstracts are freely available, and access to their full texts (in PDF and, for newer publications, also HTML) generally requires a subscription or pay-per-view purchase unless the content is freely available in open access.

Subscriptions to the overall offering hosted on ScienceDirect, rather than to specific titles it carries, are usually acquired through a so called big deal. The other big five have similar offers.

ScienceDirect also competes for audience with other large aggregators and hosts of scholarly communication content such as academic social network ResearchGate and open access repository arXiv, as well as with fully open access publishing venues and megajournals like PLOS.

See also

Related Research Articles

CiteSeerx is a public search engine and digital library for scientific and academic papers, primarily in the fields of computer and information science. CiteSeer is considered as a predecessor of academic search tools such as Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search. CiteSeer-like engines and archives usually only harvest documents from publicly available websites and do not crawl publisher websites. For this reason, authors whose documents are freely available are more likely to be represented in the index.

Academic publishing Subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship

Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in academic journal articles, books or theses. The part of academic written output that is not formally published but merely printed up or posted on the Internet is often called "grey literature". Most scientific and scholarly journals, and many academic and scholarly books, though not all, are based on some form of peer review or editorial refereeing to qualify texts for publication. Peer review quality and selectivity standards vary greatly from journal to journal, publisher to publisher, and field to field.

Open access Research publications that are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers

Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. With open access strictly defined, or libre open access, barriers to copying or reuse are also reduced or removed by applying an open license for copyright.

Elsevier Dutch publishing and analytics company

Elsevier is a Netherlands-based publishing company specializing in scientific, technical, and medical content. It is a part of the RELX Group, known until 2015 as Reed Elsevier. Its products include journals such as The Lancet and Cell, the ScienceDirect collection of electronic journals, the Trends and Current Opinion series of journals, the online citation database Scopus, the SciVal tool for measuring research performance, the ClinicalKey search engine for clinicians, and the ClinicalPath evidence-based cancer care service. Elsevier's products and services also include digital tools for data management, instruction, research analytics and assessment.

RELX is a British multinational information and analytics company headquartered in London, England. Its businesses provide scientific, technical and medical information and analytics; legal information and analytics; decision-making tools; and organise exhibitions. It operates in 40 countries and serves customers in over 180 nations. It was previously known as Reed Elsevier, and came into being in 1992 as a result of the merger of Reed International, a British trade book and magazine publisher, and Elsevier, a Netherlands-based scientific publisher.

A citation index is a kind of bibliographic index, an index of citations between publications, allowing the user to easily establish which later documents cite which earlier documents. A form of citation index is first found in 12th-century Hebrew religious literature. Legal citation indexes are found in the 18th century and were made popular by citators such as Shepard's Citations (1873). In 1960, Eugene Garfield's Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) introduced the first citation index for papers published in academic journals, first the Science Citation Index (SCI), and later the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI). The first automated citation indexing was done by CiteSeer in 1997 and was patented. Other sources for such data include Google Scholar, Elsevier's Scopus, and the National Institutes of Health's iCite.

BioMed Central (BMC) is a United Kingdom-based, for-profit scientific open access publisher that produces over 250 scientific journals. All its journals are published online only. BioMed Central describes itself as the first and largest open access science publisher. It was founded in 2000 and has been owned by Springer, now Springer Nature, since 2008.

Google Scholar Academic search service by Google

Google Scholar is a freely accessible web search engine that indexes the full text or metadata of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines. Released in beta in November 2004, the Google Scholar index includes most peer-reviewed online academic journals and books, conference papers, theses and dissertations, preprints, abstracts, technical reports, and other scholarly literature, including court opinions and patents. While Google does not publish the size of Google Scholar's database, scientometric researchers estimated it to contain roughly 389 million documents including articles, citations and patents making it the world's largest academic search engine in January 2018. Previously, the size was estimated at 160 million documents as of May 2014. An earlier statistical estimate published in PLOS ONE using a Mark and recapture method estimated approximately 80–90% coverage of all articles published in English with an estimate of 100 million. This estimate also determined how many documents were freely available on the internet.

PubMed Central (PMC) is a free digital repository that archives open access full-text scholarly articles that have been published in biomedical and life sciences journals. As one of the major research databases developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), PubMed Central is more than a document repository. Submissions to PMC are indexed and formatted for enhanced metadata, medical ontology, and unique identifiers which enrich the XML structured data for each article. Content within PMC can be linked to other NCBI databases and accessed via Entrez search and retrieval systems, further enhancing the public's ability to discover, read and build upon its biomedical knowledge.

Jan Velterop

Johannes (Jan) Josephus Marinus Velterop is a science publisher.

Project MUSE Online database of journals and ebooks

Project MUSE, a non-profit collaboration between libraries and publishers, is an online database of peer-reviewed academic journals and electronic books. Project MUSE contains digital humanities and social science content from over 250 university presses and scholarly societies around the world. It is an aggregator of digital versions of academic journals, all of which are free of digital rights management (DRM). It operates as a third-party acquisition service like EBSCO, JSTOR, OverDrive, and ProQuest.

In academic publishing, an embargo is a period during which access to academic journals is not allowed to users who have not paid for access. The purpose of this is to ensure publishers have revenue to support their activities, although the impact of embargoes on publishers is hotly debated, with some studies finding no impact while publisher experience suggests otherwise. A 2012 survey of libraries by the Association of Learned, Professional, and Society Publishers on the likelihood of journal cancellations in cases where most of the content was made freely accessible after six months suggests there would be a major negative impact on subscriptions, but this result has been debated.

Free content Creative work with few or no restrictions on how it may be used

Free content, libre content, or free information is any kind of functional work, work of art, or other creative content that meets the definition of a free cultural work.

A copyright transfer agreement or copyright assignment agreement is an agreement that transfers the copyright for a work from the copyright owner to another party. This is one legal option for publishers and authors of books, magazines, movies, television shows, video games, and other commercial artistic works who want to include and use a work of a second creator: for example, a video game developer who wants to pay an artist to draw a boss to include in a game. Another option is to license the right to include and use the work, rather than transferring the copyright.

Academic journal publishing reform is the advocacy for changes in the way academic journals are created and distributed in the age of the Internet and the advent of electronic publishing. Since the rise of the Internet, people have organized campaigns to change the relationships among and between academic authors, their traditional distributors and their readership. Most of the discussion has centered on taking advantage of benefits offered by the Internet's capacity for widespread distribution of reading material.

This is a summary of the different copyright policies of academic publishers for books, book chapters, and journal articles.

Library Genesis File-sharing website for print publications

Library Genesis (Libgen) is a file-sharing based shadow library website for scholarly journal articles, academic and general-interest books, images, comics, audiobooks, and magazines. The site enables free access to content that is otherwise paywalled or not digitized elsewhere. Libgen describes itself as a "links aggregator" providing a searchable database of items "collected from publicly available public Internet resources" as well as uploaded "from users".

Sci-Hub is a shadow library website that provides free access to millions of research papers and books, without regard to copyright, by bypassing publishers' paywalls in various ways. Sci-Hub was founded by Alexandra Elbakyan in 2011 in Kazakhstan in response to the high cost of research papers behind paywalls. The site is extensively used worldwide. In September 2019, the site's owners said that it served approximately 400,000 requests per day. The number of articles claimed is frequently updated on the site's home page, being over 85 million in February 2021.

History of open access

The idea and practise of providing free online access to journal articles began at least a decade before the term "open access" was formally coined. Computer scientists had been self-archiving in anonymous ftp archives since the 1970s and physicists had been self-archiving in arXiv since the 1990s. The Subversive Proposal to generalize the practice was posted in 1994.

Plan S is an initiative for open-access science publishing launched in 2018 by "cOAlition S", a consortium of national research agencies and funders from twelve European countries. The plan requires scientists and researchers who benefit from state-funded research organisations and institutions to publish their work in open repositories or in journals that are available to all by 2021. The "S" stands for "shock".


  1. " WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info - DomainTools". WHOIS . Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  2. "ScienceDirect" . Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  3. Reller, Tom. "2014 RELX Annual Reports and Financial Statements" (PDF). RELX Group. RELX Group. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 19, 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  4. Giussani, Bruno (4 March 1997). "Building the World's Largest Scientific Database". New York Times . Retrieved 14 March 2014.

Further reading