Visibility & discoverability in the digital era!


Discovery services provide a way to ensure books are easily found by patrons. In this information age, how does Elsevier ensures visibility & discoverability in the digital era, shares Dr Sangeeta Mehta, Regional Director- South Asia, Research Solution Sales, Elsevier. AABP: How does Elsevier work with researchers to further their careers?

Dr Sangeeta Mehta, Regional Director- South Asia, Research Solution Sales, ElsevierDr Sangeeta: Elsevier’s leading information solution empowers over 15 million researchers, teachers, students, healthcare professionals and information professionals around the world to be more impactful in their work. ScienceDirect combines authoritative, full-text scientific, technical and health publications with smart, intuitive functionality so researchers can stay more informed, and can work more effectively and efficiently. With over 14 million publications from over 3,800 journals and more than 35,000 books from Elsevier, our imprints and our society partners, ScienceDirect empowers smarter research.

The company has launched new ethics in research and publication program. The program emphasizes the individual researcher’s contribution and commitment to advancing scientific progress through integrity, and uses a series of training materials, guides, and interactive tools to highlight the impact misconduct can have. Among the violations explored are: research fraud, plagiarism, and duplicate submission.

AABP: How specifically does Elsevier aid visibility and discovery?

Dr Sangeeta: Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform is the most ideal place to engage with its content because it offers enhanced ebook experience with linking, video, audio, animations, and widgets like Virtual Microscope and Interactive Mapping.

For S&T Books, discovery services provide a way to ensure our books can be easily found by our patrons. Elsevier has signed agreements allowing leading web discovery services – Primo (Ex Libris) and EDS (EBSCO Discovery Service) – to feature “Cited By” number links from Scopus in their search results. A memorandum of understanding with a third service, Summon (Serials Solutions), has also been agreed. Compatibility with the discovery services increases the profile and discoverability of Scopus content within subscribing institutions. The links will drive traffic to the database and encourage users to make greater use of its analytical tools as they extend and refine their original searches.

Apart from discoverability, the importance of supporting web accessibility cannot be underestimated. At Elsevier, much of our focus is on ScienceDirect, a full-text database of more than 2,500 journals and 30,000 books. The team developing ScienceDirect has a high commitment to supporting researcher efficiency, including how the platform is developed to serve researchers with disabilities or impairments, be they auditory, cognitive, physical, speech or visual disabilities.

AABP: What about impact? How do they help research in this area?

Dr Sangeeta: We are known for quality content. The announcement of the 2017 Nobel Prize winners earlier this month underlined, once again, Elsevier’s leading position as a publisher of science and economics. Following a precedent set in previous years, a series of key articles were made freely available to celebrate the success of this year’s Chemistry Laureates – Dr. Jacques Dubochet, Dr. Joachim Frank and Dr. Richard Henderson – honored for their work in developing cryo-electron microscopy. 173 out of 174 Nobel Prize winners in science and economics since 2000 have published their work with Elsevier, and still more articles were opened up for free access.

AABP: How is the quality challenge addressed in the Indian context?

Dr Sangeeta: We offer various writing and editing workshops for researchers in India to train them to be better authors, editors or reviewers. This helps in bringing a global perspective and quality change in publishing landscape of India with us.

AABP: What are various options offered to researchers from India?

Dr Sangeeta: We do not have regional publishing policies, hence, we provide global standard content coming from all over the world including India. Since Scopus is proprietary tool of Elsevier, we use this database to find authors with high H index, indicating their reputation in respective fields and approach them to write for us thus providing content from experts in the field.

AABP: Is OA a credible option being used effectively in India?

Dr Sangeeta: OA is widely misunderstood in India. Through workshops and marketing activities, we are trying to create awareness about Green and gold open access and helping our patrons to steer away from predatory journals or substandard publishing.

AABP: What are the challenges faced by researchers in India and how does Elsevier help in addressing these?

Dr Sangeeta: Main challenges faced by researchers are reduced funding for resources, quality research output and availability of peer-reviewed content in both books and journals. Currently a lot of early career researchers still refer to unreliable resources like Wikipedia and blogs and freely available non-peer reviewed content. ScienceDirect topic pages were introduced in 2017 which are are free, so both subscribed and unsubscribed ScienceDirect users have access. The pages are very discoverable through search engines, leveraging a discovery route people already use to find relevant information. Hence topic pages help researchers discover and comprehend scientific topics, improving their performance hence helping researchers and student with quality and citable data for credible scientific research and publishing.

We also offer free Author workshops for scholarly writing aimed at early career researchers in India and to help them understand the publishing process and publishing ethics. Such workshops help researchers with career advancements and networking. In 2017 more than 40 author workshops were conducted in India for various Universities and Institutions.

AABP: Any specific measures, or ideas you have used or are planning in the context of your role.

Dr Sangeeta: Being a researcher in past gives me a better understanding of need for both researchers and student workflows. Thus my team delivers solutions specific to need of institutions depending on their focus areas such as teaching, research, a mix of both or administration. Elsevier has an advantage in terms of hosting its advanced content like journals and fundamental content like books on same platform. This facilitates better understanding of journals thus driving usage and also helping in multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary research by accessing the books and learning quickly.

I have plans to continue to conduct workshops by bringing in experts from my publishing and editorial team to support Indian researchers.

Dr Sangeeta Mehta currently holds the position of Director South Asia for Research Solutions. She has Doctoral degree in Microbiology with specialization in drug target discovery and biological control and MS with specialization in Pathology. Dr Mehta has been awarded NIH Fellowship and Adjunct Faculty position at the Burnett School of Medicine, Florida, USA and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Before joining Elsevier Dr. Mehta has worked at organizations such as Agilent Technologies, Thomson Reuters, ASSOCHAM and TERI at various capacities has implemented many MoUs with Industry and Academia for collaborations and creating value for customers and developing Key Opinion Leaders.

To date, she has 11 peer-reviewed publications, 4 invited book chapters on applied Microbiology. She is key inventor on 4 PCT, 4 US, 1 European, 2 Indian and 1 South African published patents in the field of Applied Microbiology. Also, she successfully has transferred microbial technologies to blue chip biotechnology companies in India and globally.

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