An Exercise in Publisher Agility: Launching the Ebola Resource Centre in 5 Days

The Lancet, an Elsevier publication, has remained the world’s leading independent general medical journal since its founding in 1823.


In response to the deadly Ebola outbreak in the summer of 2014, Elsevier wanted to make all Ebola-related content from The Lancet, Cell Press, and various virology journals easily and freely accessible to the researchers and healthcare workers striving to contain the contagion. With the epidemic growing rapidly, time was of the essence: the decision to proceed depended on how quickly The Lancet editorial team leads could compile, organize, and present the content.


The Lancet’s team used Literatum, Atypon’s  online publishing platform, to design, curate, and launch a new online Ebola Resource Centre site in just five days with no assistance from their IT team or Atypon. Scopus, Elsevier’s abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, was used by the editors to quickly identify the most relevant articles from across Elsevier’s portfolio.

Literatum’s Page Builder, a drag-and-drop widget-based site creation and editing tool, enabled The Lancet’s non-technical staff to rapidly build a new microsite that:

  • automatically organizes articles by topic and type
  • updates dynamically with any new relevant content from
  • incorporates video and multimedia
  • integrates news feeds to present the most recent reporting
  • integrates social media channels to exponentially expand its reach
  • easily permits free access to be assigned to articles
  • supports commenting and feedback mechanisms for sharing firsthand experiences and exchanging ideas for managing the epidemic


Literatum’s Page Builder enabled The Lancet to nimbly respond to a medical crisis by bringing valuable, authoritative, and relevant research and editorial content to the medical personnel, NGO staff, and government representatives around the world who needed it most. And Literatum’s sophisticated access controls and flexible content licensing easily enabled subscription-only research to be accessed for free.

The website generated high traffic volumes during the peak of the epidemic and facilitated the exchange of treatment insights, resources, and evidence-based medical references among clinicians actively working to curtail the epidemic.

The and the Ebola microsite, two of more than 700 journal websites operated by Elsevier and powered by Atypon’s Literatum, serve as templates for The Lancet’s future plans to deploy entire new publications and topical resource solutions.

“Literatum’s site management tools permit Elsevier’s production teams to quickly configure and launch branded websites that meet the unique needs of individual editorial teams and professional audiences. And by coupling Literatum’s flexible site-configuration tools with Elsevier’s Clinical Key search and Content Innovation technologies, we ensure that our industry-leading Journal Branded Solutions™ meet the needs of a wide variety of professional audiences.”

Patrick Crisfulla Vice President, Products, Elsevier

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