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Scirus announced in Sept 2013 that it will be retired by early 2014
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See also Data science portal | Google scholar| Microsoft Academic Search | Open search | Search engines | Web 2.0

What is Scirus?

Scirus (was) an easy-to-use search tool maintained by Elsevier Science, one of the world's largest scientific publishers. On September 23rd 2013, Scirus announced (see above right) it would retire Scirus in 2014. Due to the development of discovery tools such as ClinicalKey, the closure of Scirus was not unexpected. At one time, Scirus claimed to be "the most comprehensive scientific research tool on the web. With over 410 million scientific items indexed, it allows researchers to search for journal content, scientists' homepages, courseware, pre-print server material, patents and institutional repository and website information." Its content has been somewhat similar to Science Direct whose abstracts are freely-searchable. Scirus added expert reviews called SciTopics.

Wide swath of scientific content

In 2008, Scirus was given a new, streamlined user-interface. The goal is to return results trawled from the entire web, and to include access-controlled sites that other search engines do not crawl.

In 2012, Scirus covers more than 450 million science-related pages on the web, including:

  • 161 million .edu sites
  • 46 million .org sites
  • 29 million sites
  • 42 million .com sites
  • 42 million .gov sites
  • Over 144 million other relevant STM and University sites from around the world

Elsevier is to be applauded for listing the sources of information it crawls to build the Scirus index. This is something that Google scholar refuses to do. I am pleased to report that Scirus has a number of library partners.

Special sources (numbers are approximate)

Note the impressive range of content that is included in Scirus, but that a significant majority of the journal content, around 60%, is taken directly from Science Direct, Elsevier's search tool for its 2000+ journals. All of the sources included in Scirus are listed below:

Canadian & international contexts

Some Canadian sources are included in Scirus - but not many. Only the University of Toronto's institutional repository TSpace seems to be routinely included. That said, there will be considerable Canadian content from all of the sources covered by Scirus. The overall international content is strong, and growing stronger all the time. It's unclear how much overlap there is between Scirus and other search tools such as Google scholar and Microsoft Academic Search in beta.

How Scirus got its name

Elsevier selected Scirus as the name for its free search engine because seers judge the signs of things to come, and science is a discipline where new ideas are being developed all the time. "The Scirus search engine will pro-actively support your role as a seer."

"To the Eleusinians who were warring against Erechtheus came Scirus who was a seer from Dodona and established the ancient temple of Athena Sciras. After he fell in battle the Eleusinians buried him near a river and the name of the region and river is of the hero."

See also NNLM Super Searcher: Enhancing Your Online Search Super Powers


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