Demystifying DRM

Unlimited. Unrestricted. Uncomplicated.

Over 35,000 DRM-free Books on ScienceDirect.

Since the advent of online content delivery more than two decades ago, digital content has become increasingly vital to research and education. For researchers who read, review and share hundreds of books each year, online books offer a way to access content quickly and easily without all the heavy lifting.

At Elsevier, we are committed to putting researchers first by encouraging the access, use and sharing of our books and digital materials among those who are licensed to use them.

Demystifying DRM

While digital content has become an integral part of research and learning, there is still much debate about how digital materials with copyright licenses should be used and accessed. Digital rights management (DRM) refers to the mechanisms by which the creators and distributors of online content (music, software, publishing, etc.) control how that content is accessed, reproduced, repurposed and shared. However, the variety of DRM techniques can make access to research materials confusing and difficult, involving multiple portals, logins, rules and restrictions.

Lifting DRM Restrictions Puts the Researcher First

You will find no DRM restrictions on our more than 35,000 Books on ScienceDirect. Without DRM restrictions, end users enjoy a seamless experience in their research and learning using the materials that are licensed for their use on ScienceDirect.


 Lifting DRM restrictions furthers research and collaboration by giving users the ability to access and share content quickly, easily and at any time.


DRM Limitations and Implications for Research

  1. DRM technology restricts how content gets delivered to you. There is no standardized practice when it comes to DRM. Each platform may require its own content format, which may in turn only work with certain devices. Some content may need a separate login or be accessed through a specific portal. The variety of overlapping restrictions can make end users feel like they are following rabbit trails leading nowhere, leaving them unable or unwilling to do the work to access the content they need.
  2. DRM technology restricts ongoing access to purchased content. Another form of DRM limits the number of times purchased content may be downloaded or accessed before it must be purchased again. Similarly, libraries may not have permission to archive the content for future use, ensuring that the content must be purchased in perpetuity.
  3. DRM technology restricts appropriate use and sharing of research among researchers. In an online research environment where collaboration is key, DRM restrictions can impede the sharing of research among colleagues and hamper legitimate collaboration.

Elsevier: Your Preferred Online Book Provider

Elsevier offers over 35,000 DRM-free Books on ScienceDirect, providing these key benefits:

  • Unlimited concurrent access to licensed content any time of day or night; users never have to wait for the resource.
  • Access via any device to provide information at their point of need; you can also download PDFs of individual chapters or whole books for reading offline.
  • No separate logins/rules, all information on ScienceDirect is available when accessed through the institution’s IP.
  • Archiving permissions for materials purchased in perpetuity.
  • Easy sharing of materials with collaborators.