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An online battle between two of the biggest science publishing and information companies is looming. Elsevier, which publishes 1,800 journals, will launch Scopus, an online tool for searching abstracts and references of 14,000 academic publications. It is set to challenge the domination of Web of Science, owned by Thomson ISI.

Users can expect a battle between the two companies for their hearts and minds. Scopus will have a newly designed easy-to-use interface and will cover more journals, but it will index only five years of references for some journals. By contrast, the Web of Science offers a 60-year archive, which will be extended to 105 years by the end of 2005.

A third heavyweight is also entering the fray. Search engine Google has developed CrossRef Search, which unlike the others, searches full text of papers. It is set to expand greatly if current trials are successful.

Link to full news story in Nature

Reference: Nature 428, 683 (2004)