Elsevier Has No Fear Of Google Scholar

    July 5, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Publishing power Reed Elsevier will have its scholarly journals crawled and indexed by Google, under the terms of the Google Scholar program.

Elsevier claims the ScienceDirect service “contains over 25% of the world’s science, technology and medicine full text and bibliographic information.” Accessing any of it has meant licensing the content, an expensive prospect for schools and libraries.

Peter Brantley at O’Reilly Radar noted how annual price increases have rankled ScienceDirect customers, and how Elsevier kept its distance from services like Google Scholar:

Elsevier has long supported its own search interface for scholarly literature, Scopus, and it was no surprise to many that they avoided inclusion. However, they doubtless lost eyeballs as more and more of this traffic migrated to the freely available Scholar product.

As people opted to use Google’s service, Elsevier would have lost opportunities to sell its articles, as they were not available to Google searchers. Brantley cited how Elsevier has apparently reached a conclusion that other content companies may be missing:

This is notable for a wide range of reasons. One of the most prominent is that Elsevier clearly feels comfortable with having its core intellectual property crawled and analyzed by Google to augment discovery.

In contrast to the various European newspaper publisher-related lawsuits, Elsevier has clearly felt that even with the basic, essential tools available today – robot exclusions, sitemaps, and business agreements – their ability to execute business strategy is unimpeded by encouraging greater content exposure.

Rather than fight a userbase that has increasingly opted to use Google’s services to find content, Elsevier will embrace it instead. It seems like a sensible solution, one that too few companies have adopted instead of hurling lawsuits at the search company.