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Elsevier Launches Free Knowledge-Sharing Service for Researchers

Elsevier has launched SciTopics, a free online expert-generated knowledge sharing service for the research community, which is intended to provide technical, scientific, and medical knowledge on a variety of subjects. The Web site integrates a content publishing platform with search functionalities and community features. SciTopics is attempting to maintain high scientific standards by incorporating a strict editorial policy, safeguarded by subject-specific editors. The service opened with 650 SciTopics pages from about 800 scientists.

The company said the site provides visitors with an introductory overview of a particular scientific topic and serves as a collaboration resource where users can share their views and engage in discussions with other SciTopics members. SciTopics allows scientists to identify relevant players, journals, Web sites, and science news services in the field, thereby offering a channel for researchers to identify potential collaboration partners and help journal editors find suitable authors and reviewers for their publications.

Using keywords selected by the SciTopics page author, Elsevier provides links to the most recent and most cited published articles on the subject through Scopus, an abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature. Keywords are also used to identify links to relevant Web results and news through Scirus, Elsevier's science-specific search engine. These external links, updated each time the page is viewed, allow for more in-depth coverage of the subject. SciTopics page authors also offer a list of references and suggested Web resources.

"The speed of sharing information that has been made possible by the Internet has opened up a new, fast-paced content channel, however, it has created a sense of data overload as well as significant concerns over quality and accuracy," said Garry Corthals, SciTopics subject editor for biochemistry & genetics. "SciTopics will leverage the instantaneous and interactive nature of the Web, while narrowing the scope of content and offering the peace of mind that comes with authoritative and moderated material."

SciTopics pages include a link to the author's profile page including affiliation, research interests, a list of publications, and contact details. Authors are invited by a SciTopics subject editor or Elsevier journal editor to write a summary on a scientific topic of their choice. Additionally, those interested in creating a SciTopics page can submit a suggested topic via the site.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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