Top 10 stories of 2018

Top 10 stories of 2018
Open science, AI for researchers,
and women in STEM prevail

By Alison Bert, 

Elsevier Connect received nearly 2.6 million views in 2018. Our most viewed stories dealt with issues of critical importance to the research community: The value of open science and open data. A new way to measure journal impact. A breakthrough for researchers with visual impairments. The impressive contributions of ambitious women researchers in the developing world. How to spot predatory journals. What can happen when your research hits the headlines. And the implications of AI for research and policy.

Our contributors are members of the global science, technology and health communities and the Elsevier colleagues who work closely with them, many who also worked as researchers or clinicians.

Thank you to all of our contributors — and congratulations to those who made this list.

Open science, AI for researchers,  and women in STEM prevail

1. Open science: data from the largest meta-analysis of antidepressants available

Network meta-analysis of eligible comparisons for efficacy of antidepressants. The width of the lines is proportional to the number of trials comparing every pair of treatments. The size of every circle is proportional to the number of randomly assigned participants (i.e., sample size). (Source: Andrea Cipriani et al, The Lancet)

Authors of a major study in The Lancet have made their data set freely available on Mendeley Data. A study comparing data on 21 commonly used antidepressants from 522 randomized controlled trials with more than 100,000 participants has found that all antidepressants are more effective than placebo for short-term treatment of acute depression in adults. The network meta-analysis, published open access in The Lancet, is the most comprehensive assessment of antidepressants to date and enables comparison of data for all commonly used antidepressants. Read more.

2. Honoring the 2018 Nobel Laureates with free access to their research

By Jonathan Davis and Alison Bert, DMA | 2 October 2018
The Nobel Prize ceremony was held in Stockholm, Sweden, on December 10. Photo © istock.com/Kristofferpettersson; Nobel Prize medal ® © Nobel Foundation.

Most of the Nobel Laureates in science have published their work in Elsevier's journals and books — 183 out of 184 since the year 2000, according to a Scopus analysis — and many have served as editors, editorial board members or reviewers. To honor their achievements each year, we make a selection of their most cited papers published with Elsevier freely available. Read more.

3. Citescore metrics updated with 2017 annual values

By Sacha Boucherie and Rachel McCullough | 31 May 2018
These titles received their first annual CiteScore metric, and they are already in the top 1 percent for their subject areas.

CiteScore provides a set of simple, reproducible journal metrics that cover all journals in Scopus. Although the values are presented as a set number annually at the end of May, you can use CiteScore Tracker to monitor the impact of titles each month. Since its launch in December 2016, more than 20 publishers have adopted the metric, some using the free API to display the monthly CiteSore Tracker on their website. Read more.

4. Three things that happen when your research hits the headlines

By Ian Evans | 15 October 2018
Experimental setup of 121 quarter-scale cyclist models in the wind tunnel at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. The research was sponsored by US-based multinationals ANSYS and Cray. (Source: Bert Blocken, Eindhoven University of Technology and KU Leuven)

When Prof. Bert Blocken and his team at Eindhoven University of Technology and KU Leuven in Belgium set about researching wind resistance in packs of cyclists, they were investigating a common myth in cycling aerodynamics. The research looked into the amount of wind resistance cyclists experience based on their position in the peloton. After the resulting open access research paper was published in Elsevier’s Journal of Wind Engineering & Industrial Aerodynamics, it was seized upon by the press and cycling enthusiasts, as well as by those who twisted the import of the paper to deride the efforts of cyclists in the Tour de France. Read more.

5. Elsevier at AAAS: live updates with Women in Science winners

By Alison Bert, DMA, and Domiziana Francescon | 14 February 2018
The 2018 winners of the OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World.

They journeyed halfway around the globe to the world’s largest science conference to accept the OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award for Women Scientists in the Developing World. They’re early-career researchers from Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ecuador, Guyana and Indonesia, and they were recognized for their outstanding work in mathematics, physics and chemistry. Their research runs the gamut from improving predictions of tsunami behavior, to using natural resources for energy storage, to developing water filters from recycled materials. We captured their experience in photography and video as they prepared for their big day. Read more.

6. "Predatory" vs trustworthy journals: what do they mean for the integrity of science?
By Sacha Boucherie | 15 August 2018
© istock.com/serdjophoto

Hundreds of thousands of researchers worldwide have published in so-called predatory journals in recent years. Among them are researchers from renowned research institutes and universities, employees of federal authorities – even a Nobel Laureate. Dr. Philippe Terheggen, Managing Director of STM Journals at Elsevier, delves into the most common issues. Read more.

7. The biggest misconceptions about AI: the experts’ view
By Sweitze Roffel and Ian Evans | 16 July 2018
©istock.com/piranka

We caught up with some of the leading figures in artificial intelligence research to get their view on the biggest misunderstandings around AI as well as their hopes and fears for the technology. Read more.

8. Making charts accessible for people with visual impairments
By Alison Bert, DMA, and Lisa Marie Hayes | 8 February 2018
Lucy Greco, a web accessibility expert at UC Berkeley, demonstrates the accessibility features of ScienceDirect during a RELX Corporate Responsibility Forum.

Imagine you’re visually impaired and you rely on a screen reader to read text aloud and interpret images for you on your computer. Would you be able to make sense of scientific charts and graphs? Or get any information about what they look like and the information they convey? For many researchers in this position, the answer has been “no” – or in a limited way that is far from ideal. Typically they have to pay a reader or find a volunteer to assist.

So colleagues at Elsevier set out to find a solution. Their collaboration with Highcharts set a new standard for chart accessibility. Read more.

9. AI Resource Center
By the Elsevier Community | 12 December 2018


This new site provides free access to research and expert commentary on artificial intelligence (AI) and related discussions. We created it to help research leaders, policymakers, funders, investors and the public navigate AI and understand how it has evolved. This effort can also provide clues to where AI is headed and how policies might be shaped to continue making advances in a responsible way.

In the resource center, you can download Elsevier’s new report Artificial Intelligence: How knowledge is created, transferred, and used, which provides insight into research output, collaboration and mobility for China, Europe and the United States. Read more.

10. How big data and AI can generate your scientific hypothesis
By Valentina Sasselli, PhD, and Hylke Koers, PhD | 2 February 2018
© istock.com/liuzishan
Ask a researcher what challenges they face in their everyday work, and chances are they will tell you it’s about staying up to date on what’s happening in their field — keeping a close watch on what other research groups are doing and keeping an eye open for potential collaborators and new research opportunities.

So how much of that work can be handed over to software? A new pilot between Elsevier and the Euretos AI platform aims to use big data and machine learning to scan millions of journal articles and hundreds of databases to make connections and suggest new hypotheses for researchers to investigate.

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