Frequently Asked Questions
General Description and Features
What does ScienceDirect offer access to?
- ScienceDirect offers access to more than 2,500 scientific, technical & medical peer-reviewed journals, the majority coming from Elsevier
- Free access to all abstracts
- 10 million full-text scientific articles
- An expanding suite of Journals, Reference Works, Book Series, Handbooks and eBooks Millions more full-text articles via CrossRef to other publishers' platforms
What are ScienceDirect's major features?
- Broad coverage of science in both breadth and depth. An easy-to-use, powerful search engine with both simple and advanced search capability.
- Personalized features including: favorite journal lists, email alerts and saved searches.
- Free abstracts for all Elsevier journal articles for all users, both guests and licensed users (regardless of which journals your institute subscribes to).
- Articles in Press – early access to manuscripts that have been peer reviewed but are not yet published in an issue.
- Pay-per-view, available to guest users wishing to purchase single articles, and for licensed users wishing to view an article that is not part of an institute's subscribed titles.
- Free alerting services such as tables of contents, searches, TOP25 most downloaded articles in specific subject areas for all users.
- Desktop access 24 x 7.
- All data is integrated, and fully Cross-Ref enabled.
- All usage reports are reliable as they are COUNTER compliant.
Which Elsevier journals are included in ScienceDirect?
Currently, ScienceDirect contains over 2,500 journals. Coverage for many titles goes back to volume 1, issue 1 and some are more than 100 years in existence. You can always see the most up-to-date lists of titles in various collections and packages on the Info site.
Even articles from discontinued or transferred titles are often available online for the first time.
Why might I sometimes come across missing issues in ScienceDirect?
While missing issues account for less than 0.1% for post 1994 content, with the addition of Backfiles pre 1995 on ScienceDirect you may come across some missing issues. Not all titles by Elsevier are readily available as a complete printed archive was not maintained by Elsevier. Please know that ScienceDirect is working hard to make these issues available as soon as possible and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Possible reasons for missing issues:
- ScienceDirect never received the issue and the issue itself has not been identified in our tracking database as part of the ScienceDirect collection. These are the truly "missing" issues, which our analyst team resolves manually.
- The issue has been identified as part of the ScienceDirect collection, but is currently not available online. Such issues are often not available online due to technical reasons, or due to possible delivery or production problems. Since these issues are identified in our system, we regularly follow up with our suppliers until we have the issues online.
ScienceDirect is working to make many journals available back to the start of their publication, providing ScienceDirect has the legal rights to do so. Some issues may be difficult to trace or require special handling in production, which can delay their availability online. Rather than delay the entire journal title and issues, we are making them available on an issue-by-issue basis. Unfortunately, ScienceDirect cannot provide precise dates when these journal issues will be available online.
Are full-text information sources other than journals included in ScienceDirect?
Yes. ScienceDirect has other full-text resources available. Elsevier Reference Works on ScienceDirect are authoritative, extensive and integrated full-text resources. Please refer to the Online Books section.
Elsevier Book Series on ScienceDirect are continuously updated full-text resources. Please refer to the Online Books section.
Elsevier Handbooks on ScienceDirect are available as part of different subject collections. With the Handbooks available from Volume 1 to the most current volume, users gain online access to valuable research spanning many years and many important developments in scholarly research. Please refer to the Online Books section.
eBooks on ScienceDirect cover the full range of scientific disciplines, including those published under the renowned Pergamon and Academic Press imprints. Over 5,400 eBooks are now fully integrated with the existing books and journals on ScienceDirect.
Does ScienceDirect contain publications from publishers other than Elsevier?
Yes. We currently have the full text of journals from the American Psychological Association (APA), and also the prestigious journal, Tsinghua Science & Technology, from Tsinghua University in China. For a complete list of publishers on ScienceDirect, see Participating Publishers and publisher imprints.
Which components of a printed journal issue are available online for retrieval via ScienceDirect?
Elsevier has recently adopted a new policy aimed at simplicity, transparency and greater ease of explanation.
For new issues loaded into ScienceDirect since approximately October 2001, the electronic capture rule is as follows: All items that appear in the table of contents of the printed issue will be captured electronically and made retrievable via ScienceDirect. Items which are not in the table of contents will not be available on ScienceDirect, with the exception of the Editorial Board in PDF format.
At least a full PDF file will be available for every item as a minimum. Depending on the article type and production process of the journal, full text HTML, including linked references, is available for the majority of items.
The online environment has enabled Elsevier to go beyond the printed version of the journal in functionality and content to include supplementary data and multimedia files used to support the research e.g., audio, video, spreadsheet files etc., all with standard formats.
In addition, another content type - Articles in Press - is available on ScienceDirect. Articles in Press are early versions of peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication but have not yet been published in an issue. Sometimes available as early as two weeks after initial receipt.
How is an institutional subscription to ScienceDirect priced?
The ScienceDirect pricing structure consists of three components:
Subscription fee for electronic journals that match your institution's print holdings
Fee for use of the ScienceDirect platform (based on the size of the user community)
Per-article transaction fee for non-subscribed journals
What is the relationship between print subscriptions and corresponding electronic subscriptions via ScienceDirect?
Each publisher participating in ScienceDirect determines their own subscription terms and conditions. Customers can pay the print subscription plus the content fee to access the electronic version or just pay the electronic subscription without the print. Pricing is based on the annual catalogue prices.
Can institutions subscribe to ScienceDirect titles through a subscription agent?
Libraries can continue to purchase their paper journal subscriptions through their regular agent. The electronic product is handled directly with the ScienceDirect Regional Sales Offices.
If I subscribe to journals via ScienceDirect, how many users will have access to them?
The number of users at your institution is dependent upon the terms of your institution's contract. Single-site, multiple-site, as well as global access contracts are available. Once the correct metric for size of the institute has been established, all users within that IP range(s) will have access.
Can users access journal information that is not part of the library's subscription, but is available in ScienceDirect?
For certain customer types there are options to access non-subscribed titles for a discounted price, as part of their license, but there are no archival rights associated with such content.
It is optional for your institute to give patrons transactional access to articles in non-subscribed journals, via one of two payment methods:
A draw-down account on ScienceDirect whereby the fee is charged directly to the institute's account, or the user may purchase an article via pay-per-view using a credit card.
Please speak to your sales respresentative if you would like to offer one of these options at your institute.
Patrons will always be able to view the abstracts that result from a search or reference link for free.
Guest users outside an institute can always choose the pay-per-view option and pay by credit card.
What is ScienceDirect's archiving policy?
Elsevier will maintain the journals offered through ScienceDirect, in perpetuity, so long as Elsevier has the electronic rights to do so, which in most cases we do, but there are some third party titles and society titles for which we do not have such rights. The archives will be migrated and upgraded as the technology for storage, display or access changes, and an internal production archive separate from the ScienceDirect distribution platform will ensure against redundancy and the ability to recreate the files in case of disaster.
Elsevier is also involved in some international projects -such as the partnership with Portico - covering all aspects of archiving.
Will I need special software to offer access to ScienceDirect?...
Other than a standard Web browser and access to the Internet, you will not need special software to connect to ScienceDirect. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader® (available free via ScienceDirect) to view articles in PDF (Portable Document Format). For the browser requirements click here
Federated / Meta-searching
Can I set up my library's search portal to target ScienceDirect and/or Scopus?
Yes, you can - provided that a. you have a ScienceDirect and/or Scopus license that entitles you to federated search, and b. that you are using a portal provided by a vendor that has enabled their products for the ScienceDirect and/or Scopus XML gateway.
Some of the portals that support ScienceDirect and Scopus are listed below. If a vendor only supports one product only rather than both that is indicated in brackets after the portal:
MetaLib v3.13 or higher, by ExLibris (http://www.exlibris-usa.com)
ENCompass for Resource Access v3.5 or higher, by Endeavor Information Systems (http://www.endinfosys.com)
Central Search / 360 Search, by SerialsSolutions (http://www.serialssolutions.com/ss_360_suite.html)
MuseGlobal and partners (http://www.museglobal.com/):
CSAIllumina MultiSearch by CSA
MuseSearch by ELiDOC
JaniumLink by Janium Technologies
Jones e-Global library
Mandarin PACPortal by MLA (Mandarin Library Automation) Solutions
SearchSolver by Ovid (WoltersKluwer Health)
SingleSearch by SirsiDynix
Quest by SoftLink International
Muse by Transtech Information System, Taiwan
Metafind by Innovative Interfaces, Inc
ResearchPro by Innovative Interfaces, Inc
WebFeat / WebFeat Express (http://www.webfeat.org/)
QWAM’s E-Content Server (http://www.qwam.com/qesservice/pub/FRA/qwam_com/solutions/econtentserver...)
OCLC Pica / Fretwell-Downing ( http://www.oclc.org/)
DeepWeb Explorit Technologies (http://www.deepwebtech.com/)
Cosmotron Advanced Rapid Library (http://www.cosmotron.cz/)
Potiron OrtoDocs DynaRef (http://www.potiron.com.br/v2_ortodocs.htm)
Academic Software Citavi (http://www.citavi.com/)
AutoGraphics AGent (http://www4.auto-graphics.com/solutions/solutions.htm)
Please ask the vendor of your federated search product for instructions on how to set it up for access to ScienceDirect and/or Scopus.
We are using a portal from a different vendor than those listed. Now what?
We are continuously working with additional vendors to enable their products for the ScienceDirect/Scopus XML gateway, so more vendors will be added in due course. If your portal does not support the ScienceDirect/Scopus XML gateway yet, it is best to contact your vendor directly and ask them to contact us about developing support for the gateway.
I am a search portal developer and I want to have my product target ScienceDirect and/or Scopus.
Good! We welcome new federated search partners. If you want to discuss possibilities, please contact E-Helpdesk, stating that you want to implement federated search support for ScienceDirect/Scopus in your product. E-Helpdesk will then forward your request to the appropriate person.
Authentication - Remote access
How can I use or set up remote access usernames/passwords for ScienceDirect?
A library administrator can set up remote access to ScienceDirect for end users through Elsevier's Admin Tool, or by contacting E-Helpdesk.
Are proxy servers allowed?
Yes, they are - you can have the proxy server's IP addresses for your organization registered for your ScienceDirect account. We cannot provide operational support for proxy server issues, however, since these fall outside of Elsevier's span of control.
What about Athens, Shibboleth, and other shared authentication technologies?
See http://www.info.sciverse.com/scopus/scopus-services/athens-shibboleth, and also the FAQ on Shibboleth below.
What is Shibboleth?
Shibboleth is a family of authentication procedures, protocols and technologies that allows end users to access multiple information resources with one set of credentials and on a single sign-on basis. It can be deployed in such a way that it uses already existing credentials, such as your organization's network login credentials, to grant end users access to online external and internal resources like ScienceDirect, your library catalogue, e-learning portals, etc.
How can I deploy Shibboleth?
Technically, Shibboleth involves expanding your organization's authentication systems to be able to interact with other "Shibbolized" systems, like the authentication systems of information providers
Organizationally, your institute has to become a member of a Shibboleth federation - a group of information providers and users that deploy Shibboleth in a common, agreed manner that is tailored to their specific needs. In order for an institute to get access to ScienceDirect through Shibboleth, ScienceDirect and the institute must be a member of the same federation
More background can be found on the official Shibboleth pages on http://shibboleth.internet2.edu.
Which federations is ScienceDirect a member of?
An up-to-date list of supported federations and members can be found on: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/externallogin
I am an Identity Provider in one of the supported federations. How can I get Shibboleth access to ScienceDirect?
Please contact our E-Helpdesk; they will make the necessary arrangements. They will need your ScienceDirect account number and your Shibboleth Identity Provider ID.
What Shibboleth attributes are you looking for?
For almost all our partner federations, we've configured our implementation to look for the eduperson entitlement attribute with a value of urn:mace:dir:entitlement:common-lib-terms in order to authorize access. Where we divert from this practice, it is noted in the information about attribute usage on the federation’s website.
If your identity provider releases a targetedID to us for each of your users, we will optionally allow the user to personalize ScienceDirect. If you need more information about how this works, please contact our E-Helpdesk.
What are the URLs of your Shibboleth components?
These are usually listed in your federation's metadata files, hosted on your federation's server. If they're not, your federation operator should be able to inform you what they are; if that doesn't work, please contact our E-Helpdesk.
Is it possible to build direct Shibboleth authentication links to ScienceDirect?
Yes, it is. Here is an overview on how to construct these links.
My link resolver is not listed as being supported by ScienceDirect. Now what?
This does not necessarily mean that it won't work with ScienceDirect. If you want to have your link resolver link to ScienceDirect, then it'll probably be able to do that just fine if it uses DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers). If it needs to link differently, however, or if you also want your link resolver to work from ScienceDirect, then the supplier of your link resolver software should contact us.
How do I configure my link resolver service to link from ScienceDirect?
If it is a supported link resolver, you can configure your link resolver to link from ScienceDirect by using the Admin Tool, or ask Elsevier's E-Helpdesk to do it for you.
How do I configure my link resolver service to link to ScienceDirect?
This question should primarily be answered by your link resolver vendor. However, your link resolver software will most likely need to know what titles and coverage you have access to on ScienceDirect in order for links to ScienceDirect to be displayed correctly.
The authoritative source of what your organization has access to on ScienceDirect is the ScienceDirect Electronic Holdings Report (EHR). It can be downloaded from ScienceDirect, and it will show your organization’s specific holdings provided that you download it from within your organization’s registered IP range. This is how you can find the EHR:
- Go to http://www.sciencedirect.com
- Click on "My Settings"
- Click on "ScienceDirect Electronic Holdings Report"
- In the next screen, choose whether you want to see just your "Subscribed titles", or also "Non-Subscribed titles" and/or "Titles published (or previously published) by Elsevier but not available on ScienceDirect".
- Click the appropriate link to download the report in the format of your choice (HTML, Comma Separated Value or XML).
The downloaded EHR can then be used to configure your link resolver software with your ScienceDirect holdings information.
I've selected my ScienceDirect subscribed journal packages in my link resolver configuration, but the links are missing/broken/not correct. Why is that?
Please be aware that journal collections like the Freedom Collection and the Subject Collections are customizable and that in your specific case their coverage might be different from the "standard" collections that some link resolvers offer as configuration options. The above-mentioned Electronic Holdings Report is the authoritative source for all your holdings information.
Is ScienceDirect fully OpenURL compliant?
ScienceDirect is compliant with OpenURL v1.0 for linking from ScienceDirect to other content sources.
What types of security protection does ScienceDirect provide?
The security and integrity of information on the ScienceDirect website and servers are of critical importance to our customers. and Elsevier is committed to providing strong industry standard security systems to ensure the availability, confidentiality and integrity of data, including intellectual property and sensitive personal information. Well established policies, processes and standards are in place within the organization and systems, including back up systems and date are maintained in secure site locations to ensure 24 x 7 protection.
ScienceDirect is hosted at the LexisNexis Computing Complex in Dayton, Ohio, USA, one of the largest
of its kind, with a backup location in nearby Springfield, Ohio. 24 hours / 7 days a week / 365 days a year support covers everything from automatic system updates to maintenance on some of the most sophisticated servers, software and telecommunications equipment in the world. Elsevier office locations, and specifically data centers within these locations, are built with physical security controls in place that include controls such as limited access and roaming guard forces . Access to the data centers is restricted to individuals with an approved business need. The system is constantly (24/7) monitored by a team of system specialists and special monitoring software both on hardware and application levels. In addition the system is continuously monitored and maintained by the ScienceDirect Application Support Team.
Architecture and Network Security
Elsevier employs a “defence in depth” approach regarding network security . The Elsevier network design utilizes redundant components and connections to ensure availability . The use of packet filtering, firewalls and control devices limit access to Elsevier’s e-products. Intrusion detection and prevention devices are employed to filter out certain types of unwanted traffic. The Elsevier network is monitored constantly by automated and manual means with support provided around the clock. Redundancy and fault tolerance are therefore guiding principles in the ScienceDirect architecture. Several Internet service providers ensure continuous connectivity, and via LexisNexis firewalls and load-balancers, incoming requests are distributed onto a cluster of servers, which are connected to the LexisNexis infrastructure, thus providing high availability and fast data access
ScienceDirect supports several access methods (four in total):
- Username/password authentication
- IP address authentication
Username / Password Authentication
Users can obtain a username and password for ScienceDirect either by registering on ScienceDirect without prior invitation, by having a profile created for them by an administrator, or by creating one after receiving an invitation email from the ScienceDirect system.
Only if a user profile is created by an administrator or following an invitation email, will the user actually get access to their organization’s subscriptions on ScienceDirect; if they registered themselves without prior invitation, they will only be able to access their organization’s subscriptions on ScienceDirect if they are coming from a registered IP address (see below).
The username for a user profile is created by the system by combining the first and last name inpu by the user and the password chosen by the user must meet minimum criteria.
ScienceDirect uses coding based on state-of-the-art algorithms for password encryption. User passwords are not stored directly in the authentication database; instead, we store a hash value using a one-way encryption algorithm. That means that the actual password cannot be stolen from our databases.
ScienceDirect also provides a feature called “Remember me” (on this computer). If the user decides to use this option, encrypted credentials are stored locally in a browser cookie, and not the actual username/password themselves. The encryption itself is done on the server and the data is exchanged in a secured way. The next time a user inputs the ScienceDirect URL on this computer, he automatically gets logged in, providing the user only closed the browser after the last session and did not log out; the encrypted credentials are taken from the cookies and sent to the server.
IP address authentication
Companies or institutions that want unlimited site-wide access to ScienceDirect are required to provide
a public IP address, or IP range to Elsevier. This address or range is used by ScienceDirect to ensure anonymous user access only for that entire site. Only users within the given range of IP addresses can access ScienceDirect; all others are granted guest access only (unless they access ScienceDirect using any of the other three access methods). It is the responsibility of the company or institution to ensure that access to ScienceDirect via these IP addresses is limited to authorised users only. Also, please note that users are able to register themselves on ScienceDirect and create personal profiles from within the registered IP address range.
Since 2002, ScienceDirect has supported the Athens Access Management system. Athens provides users with single sign-on access to numerous web based services, and is widely deployed throughout the United Kingdom amongst the Higher Education and Further Education communities and many National Health Service (NHS) trusts. Please visit http://www.athensams.net/news/2002/securitymeasures
ScienceDirect is an early adopter and vivid supporter of the Shibboleth family of architectures, policy structures, and technologies that allow organizations to exchange information about their users in a highly customizable, secure and privacy preserving manner.
Please visit http://shibboleth.internet2.edu/ for more information
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Protocol
All login and purchase activity data exchanged between the ScienceDirect server and a user are encrypted and transmitted via SSL. The SSL protocol is an industry standard method for protecting Web communications and ensuring secure client/server communications. Using the SSL protocol, an SSL enabled server can authenticate itself to an SSLenabled client and the client can authenticate itself to the server, thereby establishing an encrypted and trusted connection between both machines. This encrypted connection provides “channel security,” which has three basic properties:
> The channel is private: encryption is used for all messages after a simple handshake defines a secret key. The initial key exchange is protected by Public Key Encryption.
> The channel is authenticated: the server endpoint of the conversation is always authenticated.
> The channel is reliable: the message transport includes a message integrity check. An SSL connection provides a high degree of confidentiality by requiring that all information sent between a client and a server is encrypted by the sending software and decrypted by the receiving software. Any tampering with data sent over an encrypted SSL connection is automatically detected by a mechanism that determines whether the data have been altered in transit. Most SSL connections for ScienceDirect are managed by Elsevier .
SSL encryption is validated by the certification authority; Thawte, Inc. Thawte issues a digital certificate, or electronic credential, confirming that Elsevier is the owner of ScienceDirect connections and enabling secure communications between client and server. For more information on Thawte digital certificates, refer to: http://www.thawte.com.
ScienceDirect creates temporary result sets for users for browsing and combination purposes. All temporary result sets created during a search are only stored during a session and are automatically deleted after the session has been closed. Results and actions are stored if the user is logged in. Temporary result sets, as well as all explicitly saved result sets, are only available for the given user. This is different in the case of Alert queries, which will be executed automatically after a defined time period. Alert queries are stored on the server for automatic execution, but they are only available for the given user.
ScienceDirect provides an output and export service, which generates data files in various formats on the ScienceDirect server for downloading. These downloadable files are only available as long as the download dialog box is visible and the current session is active. Once the session is closed all download files are automatically deleted.
Elsevier has proven internal procedures for security risk assessment and compliance with internal policy
across our worldwide network. Elsevier is compliant with Sarbanes-Oxley and is audited annually.
Information Security Methodology & Governance
Elsevier employs well established and robust processes supporting the creation, maintenance and approval of security policies and standards. The organization takes a risk based approach to security to ensure that effective controls are implemented in the appropriate places. Training and certification of employees in security disciplines are also priorities and employees with direct responsibility for security at Elsevier hold certifications such as the (ISC)² CISSP or GIAC GSEC.