Elsevier has announced a new enterprise content mining and distribution service for its Scopus abstract and citation database of scientific, technical, medical and social science content. The Scirius search engine that has been used by Elsevier to crawl Web content for scientific information, powers the new Scopus Selected Sources feature that crawls similar internal repositories of scientific content. Using the Selected Sources feature an institution can expose this internal content to its own enterprise users via Scopus as well as to others outside of their enterprise. Lecture notes, presentations, manuscripts, pre-press papers and other similar materials will now be available to far greater general audiences, supplementing peer-reviewed materials available to scientific audiences within a familiar framework through which they already access abstracts and citations on published sources. The service is highly customizable, allowing customers to create complimentary content streams that fit in to specific areas of interest through the Scopus interface.
While the technology used to create the Selected Sources feature is hardly new, it's a very important breakthrough for scientific publishers to embrace the exposure of enterprise content to a more general audience. It helps to expose ideas and research under investigation in a way that is far more likely to result in powerful awareness and interactions surrounding the work of scientific professionals in highly useful contexts. The Selected Sources feature positions Elsevier as a provider of a far broader base of content than just journals that can help scientific professionals to solve key problems and that can help to position participating institutions as thought leaders in ways that will encourage collaboration. It's "low hanging fruit" from a product design perspective but as a first step it's an exciting hint of what scientific publishers can do to develop high-margin services that amplify the value of an enterprise's intellectual property significantly.