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Elsevier announces the launch of Atlas: Research for a Better World

Publishing about the science behind global issues that affect us all in a format that can be read by all


Oxford, January 5, 2015 - Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the launch of a new virtual journal: Atlas. Published as a virtual journal, Atlas selects already published research on topics that hold high societal relevance or address global issues, and summarizes and presents the science in a lay-friendly, story format to reach an as wide as possible global audience.

Atlas showcases research that can (or already has) significantly impact(ed) people's lives around the world. Articles published are selected by an external advisory board made up of representatives of some of the world's most renowned Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), including the United Nations University and Oxfam. Every month the Board selects a paper from a shortlist of suggested articles published in any of Elsevier's 1800+ journals. Once selected, the author(s) of the paper are awarded "The Atlas" and work with a team of dedicated Atlas science journalists to summarize the research into an easy-to-digest, lay-friendly story format which will be published online. Additionally, all articles featured on Atlas will include a direct link to the full research paper on ScienceDirect which will be made freely available for all.

"With Atlas we want to reach further than our traditional audiences," said Floris de Hon, Publishing Director STMJ at Elsevier. "Many, if not all, of our current global issues, hold elements of science, technology and health. In order to truly understand the impact of the issues and to help find solutions, people need to know the science too. Although researchers are well placed to explain concepts and theories, journalists hold a key position to integrate science into society. Atlas' unique publishing format makes best use and combines the roles of both scientists and journalists have in recognising the impact of research on people's lives around the world."

"Research findings need to be understood by all. By working hand in hand with the authors of selected papers, journalists can help to communicate research for general audiences, while minimizing common problems related to journalism such as exaggeration, bias and misrepresentation," said Neil Pakenham-Walsh, Healthcare Information for All (HIFA), member of the Atlas advisory board.

The first three Atlas awards have been announced. The selected research papers have been published in story format on Atlas. These include:

'SuperAmma' to the hand washing rescue published in The Lancet Global Health.

Researchers created a character called SuperAmma who encouraged, among other things, habits of hand-washing with soap and water in India. Before the campaign, the practice was virtually non-existent in the 14 villages the researchers targeted; six months after their intervention, 37% of group had started washing their hands with soap and water at key times. That's a life-saving habit change in a region where thousands of children die of diarrhoea each year.

Research paper available for free at:

'Sustainable' coffee: what does it mean for local supply chains in Indonesia? published in World Development.

Coffee farmers may be bearing the costs of new regulations imposed by large multinational companies to make their coffee 'sustainable,' by requiring farmers, processors, traders and exporters in the supply chain to provide proof of ethical practices, multinational companies are imposing costs on their suppliers, causing a demand for farmers at the end of the supply chain to reduce their prices.

Research paper available for free at:

Making construction safety social published in Automation in Construction.

A new social network for the construction industry could save thousands of lives and billions of dollars, by improving communication about safety. The researchers behind the new tool, from Chung-Ang University in the Republic of Korea, say it could improve safety information and knowledge, preventing injury. Their research introduces the prototype system, and tests it out using a real-life accident case.

Research paper available for free at:

The next Atlas award will be announced and its story will be published on Atlas in February.


For more information, go to:

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions -- among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence and ClinicalKey -- and publishes nearly 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world-leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

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