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Clarifying the unfamiliar

By: , Posted on: January 4, 2019

New ScienceDirect topic pages deliver essential contextual knowledge in 8 new subject areas.

We’re excited to announce we have launched phase 3 of ScienceDirect Topics. Building on the incredible success of the first two waves, phase 3 extends our coverage to eight new subject areas: Computer Science, Economics, Energy, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology, and Social Sciences. The new topic pages will surface content from leading works such as The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Second Edition, edited by James D Wright, one of Elsevier’s most read titles and Nonlinear Optics, Third Edition by Robert Boyd, one of our most highly-cited Engineering titles. These new topic pages join already popular pages in Neuroscience, Biomedicine, Life Sciences, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Food Science, Materials Science and Engineering, and Earth and Environmental Sciences. These are the final subject areas to expand to, meaning no matter what subject a researcher is working on, they are able to quickly understand and get up to speed on the topic on ScienceDirect.

What’s particularly important about the new topic pages is that they increase our coverage in interdisciplinary research areas. We now have over 330,000 topic pages available across 20 subject areas. With the increasing focus on cross-disciplinary research and knowledge, it’s essential to have easy access to trusted definitions and reference content, and our new areas support this contemporary research model.


As with all the topic pages, the new content is highly curated using advanced techniques. Over 100 people are involved in building the pages. They leverage a range of machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques, including taxonomy building, data mining,  algorithmic  information  extraction, relevancy ranking and quality confirmation. It’s our goal to ensure that researchers see ScienceDirect Topics as an excellent and trusted source of definitions and context.

And based on feedback from end users, we’re succeeding in that aim. ScienceDirect Topics is already a very popular feature, with over 6 million visits per month. The ~60% return visitor rate tells us that researchers are finding what they need and coming back for more. A survey of ScienceDirect users showed that 92% felt that topic pages helped them achieve their goals*. Researchers have praised the time savings, since they don’t have to spend time searching and sifting through the large amounts of literature to learn more. They’ve also commented how well topic pages bring together a range of information, presenting it in a succinct and clear manner.

Combining technology and content, ScienceDirect Topics provides a necessary bridge between journal and reference content and contributes to a more natural research workflow   for researchers, academics and students. It prevents researchers jumping between multiple sets of pages of isolated information, untrusted sources, and site hopping just to explore a single unknown idea or topic. ScienceDirect Topics is a research and discovery enhancement unlike any other.

For more information about ScienceDirect topics pages, visit

*Source: TechValidate. TVID: 552-B2A-911

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