Elsevier began a pilot project to make articles from four major publishers available via ScienceDirect

The pilot, a collaboration with the publishers in an attempt to help researchers find and access content more easily, is intended to last between four and six months, with articles appearing in search and browse lists. The GetFTR button will allow authorized users to access the full text of articles.

Elsevier’s pilot, as described in a blog post  by Rose L’Huillier on 18 January 2022, is limited to organic chemistry and transportation titles from publishers, the American Chemical Society, the Royal Society of ChemistryTaylor & Francis and Wiley. During the pilot, researchers will be able to search and browse more than 70,000 articles in 35 journals from these participating publishers, alongside Elsevier’s content on ScienceDirect.

Alleviating the time spent conducting literature reviews and staying up to date in their fields of study would be highly beneficial to researchers, who rely on trustworthy information, L'Huillier notes.

All ScienceDirect users will be able to view abstracts of the new pilot content. If the content is open access, the full text will be available in HTML, and the PDF will be delivered from the original publisher’s website. If the content is a subscription article, entitled users will seamlessly get full text access through the relevant publisher’s website. Users will be able to see already on ScienceDirect whether they are entitled to the full text through the GetFTR button for participating publishers. GetFTR is a free-to-use solution for platforms like ScienceDirect that has been developed by several organizations, including Wiley.

Elsevier believe that this approach can help make essential research articles easier to find on ScienceDirect, helping maximize library investments by providing entitled content for users in more places. It will analyse the results of the pilot to test this hypothesis. In addition to usage metrics, we will gather user and customer feedback.

Content Supercontinent or Discovery Service?

Writing in The Scholarly Kitchen,  Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe wondered if ScienceDirect would become a content supercontinent, a phrase coined by Ithaka S+R’s Roger Schonfeld in 2018. She also raises interesting questions about competition among scholarly publishers and sees the possibility of new developments in content syndication. The role of ResearchGate takes on increased importance as it also signs agreements with publishers. Google’s reaction could also determine whether searchers are led to ScienceDirect or not. On Twitter, Singapore librarian Aaron Tay (@aarontay) raised the possibility of ScienceDirect becoming a discovery service like EDS or Primo. Changing aggregation models are likely to affect how librarians guide their users to scholarly information. Although the notion of a "single, global collection" of information, Trend #15 in the IFLA Global Trend Report 2021 Update, is still out of reach, movement in that direction is happening.