ScientificCommons includes a search engine for publications and author profiles. It also allows the user to turn searches into customized RSS feeds of new publications. ScientificCommons also provides a fulltext caching service for researchers.
ScientificCommons has no registration wall for searchers, but repositories that are not indexed can register by name and the OAI interface URL. It uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) to extract data. Currently, only OAI-compliant repositories and personal websites that are enhanced through Dublin Core in their HTML headers can be included in the index.
ScientificCommons strongly supports self-archiving, a legal way for authors to make publications from over 90% of scientific journals available, often called the "green road to open access". The maintainers suggest that scientists should refuse to publish with any journal which will not allow them to self-archive.
Apart from the metadata scraped from repositories, lexical and statistical methods are used to index keywords. Citations are also extracted from the bulk text. This data is used in the search engine and RSS feeds.
ScientificCommons has been designed to work with Zotero .
Because it was made in German-speaking Switzerland, the web interface is also available in German. The majority of the information is in the language of publication, however.