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If you don't find what you need in this FAQ, please contact us through our Elsevier Research Product APIs Support Center

There is a basic SDK available for the RP APIs at GitHub Octocat GitHub. Please note this SDK is not supported by Elsevier.


Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

Q: What are the Elsevier Research Products APIs?

A: APIs (Application Programming Interface) are tools that allow for computer to computer interaction. Elsevier Research Products APIs help researchers integrate Elsevier data into their work. Elsevier has APIs available for many of our Research Products including ScienceDirect, Scopus, Engineering Village, Embase, SciVal, PharmaPendium, Geofacets, and SUSHI.

Q: Who can use the Elsevier Research Products APIs?

A: Anyone can obtain an API Key and use the APIs for non-commercial purposes free of charge subject always to Elsevier's policies for using our APIs and data. For non-commercial research, Elsevier only grants full Scopus APIs access to clients with Scopus subscriptions. If you do not have a Scopus subscription you can still use the APIs, however you will have limited access to basic metadata for citation records, and basic search functionality. We require a dedicated API subscription for any individual or organization using any of the APIs for commercial purposes. Commercial API subscriptions are subject to a legal agreement that binds Elsevier and the customer to specific terms of use for Elsevier APIs and data. Please contact us to discuss the options.

Q: Where can I learn more about a specific set of APIs?

A: API Technical documentation grouped by product is available here. In addition, review our step-by-step technical guides. Each guide walks you through the typical technical approach for a given use case, explaining which API calls need to be made at what point in your application's logic and for what purpose. These steps may need adapted for your particular situation.

Q: How do I start using the Research Products APIs?

First, obtain an API Key. If you do not already have an Elsevier user ID, you will have to register prior to obtaining an API Key. Once you have the API Key, you can start using the APIs. Our step-by-step technical guides are available should you require instructions with greater detail.

Q: What are the quotas and throttling rates for the Research Products APIs?

For information about default API settings, quota, and throttling rate limits, refer to our Default API Key Settings documentation.

Q: Where can I get help or report an issue?

Please contact us through our Elsevier Research Product APIs Support Center

Advanced Topics

Q: I have access to some API resources, but others are returning "unauthorized" or "insufficient privileges" responses. Can this be fixed?

A: Your API key has default settings ; access to some APIs and service levels is enabled by default, while access to others can be enabled manually but require further permissions from Elsevier. Attempts to access features not enabled by default will result in such error responses.

In addition, the data available depends on your institutional subscriptions, and only when you're making calls from within your institutional network are you considered a subscriber. If you attempt to access a subscriber-only feature from home, you're likely to receive such an error response. Elsevier Research Products APIs rely primarily on Institutional IP address for authentication. API access through proxies is not supported, however Elsevier will provide remote access direct to the APIs using a special access credential ("Institutional Token"). If you are working away from your main institutional network or your institution accesses Scopus.com, Scival.com, or ScienceDirect.com through a proxy, please contact us to enquire about Institutional Token access.

If you require access to additional API resources that are not available by default, please contact us through the above link.

Q: How can I obtain a list of articles (cited-by list) that cite the articles of interest to me?

A: The Scopus Search API supports this functionality, but Elsevier limits access only to subscribers and only for specific use cases. If you require use of this feature, please contact us as described in the 'Attention Subscribers' section on the default API key settings page .

A common misconception is that the Citation Overview API provides this functionality. However, this API supplies only article citation values, with or without self-citations, broken down by year. It does not enable you to extract a list of articles that produce those values.


Q: I found authors with multiple author IDs. Can this be fixed?

A: The creation of both author and affiliation profiles is an automated process performed by complex algorithms during content processing. The original data is sourced from thousands of publishers and contains numerous flaws due to translations between languages, differences in naming conventions, varied publishing and data standards, etc. When matching documents to existing profiles, the algorithm takes a conserative approach to avoid misattribution, occasionally resulting in the creation of a new author profile for an existing author. This is a superior approach as it's far easier to analyze and correct duplicate profiles than incorrectly merged profiles.

To address the problem of duplicate profiles, Scopus created Profile Wizards that allow authors and affiliations to correct their profiles directly through the Scopus web interface. The API team isn't involved in the process, but when the corrections are made in the Scopus database, they're immediately reflected in the API response data.


Q: How can I obtain more than 5,000 / 6,000 results through Scopus / ScienceDirect APIs?

A: The number of results that can be retrieved through the ScienceDirect Query API is 6,000. This limitation is not specific to any API key or client; it's an artifact of the back end search technology that is used for this API.

For Scopus subscribers, this restriction no longer applies to the Scopus Search API.

Example: Your Scopus query TITLE-ABS-KEY(mars) returns 38,000+ document results:

<opensearch:totalResults>38557</opensearch:totalResults>

<opensearch:startIndex>0</opensearch:startIndex>

<opensearch:itemsPerPage>25</opensearch:itemsPerPage>

<opensearch:Query role="request" searchTerms="TITLE-ABS-KEY(mars)" startPage="0"/>
	
...

To iterate through all 38,000 results, one must use the cursor parameter documented in the Scopus Search API specifications .

The initial search must contain a "*" value for the cursor parameter. For example:

https://api.elsevier.com/content/search/scopus?query=title-abs-key(mars)&cursor=*&count=25

The response to the above API request contains the first 25 records of the full search result set, along with another cursor value next that will return the next 25 results. Example:

<cursor current="*" next="AoNdhv5MCEEU%2BioyMi1zMi4wLTg1MDQ2NzkyNTg0"/>

In addition, the response also contains a URL encoded link to the next 25 results using the above cursor value. Example:

<link ref="next" href="https://api.elsevier.com/content/search/scopus?cursor=AoNdhv5MCEEU%2BioyMi1zMi4wLTg1MDQ2NzkyNTg0&count=25&query=title-abs-key%28mars%29l" type="application/xml"/>

By using the "next" cursor value or URL link, one can retrieve the next 25 results. Note that when using the "next" cursor value rather than URL the link, the "next" cursor value must be URL encoded before submitting the request. The process can be repeated until the entire 38,000 results have been retrieved.


Q: What is the difference between ScienceDirect and Scopus Data?

A: ScienceDirect and Scopus use two different databases.

Details: Scopus indexes -- with some exceptions -- nearly the entire ScienceDirect database but without articles' full text. Scopus builds the profiles and metrics using that data.
Note that ScienceDirect cannot be searched using Scopus-native identifiers like AF-ID, Scopus ID, etc.

For more information about our content, you can visit the content sections of the Scopus and ScienceDirect product sites:
Q: How do I become a partner?

A: Visit our Partner Support Reference for more info.