» … In the mid-’90s, both CAS and the successors to the Beilstein Institute came out with truly end-user oriented products. CAS/STN developed SciFinder, marketed first to commercial users and later to academia, initially as SciFinder Scholar and later as a merged service. However, costs remained high, even for academia with its long-standing academic discounts, and access was further limited for many with restrictions on the number of “seats” for simultaneous users. Beilstein first issued an end-user-oriented service named Crossfire, which later morphed into Reaxys under the newest owner, Elsevier. Reaxys remains a subscription service while SciFinder access has finally arrived in a web version, with subscribing organizations either opting for unlimited, flat-fee access or by the task. However, the “seats” are now a thing of the past.
… However, the ACS has recently made SciFinder available to all members who care to try it. We (I’m a 51-year member) get 25 complementary “activities” for a period of time. This availability, along with a previous offer of a month’s complementary access to Reaxys, has allowed me to embark on a comparison study (a valuable endeavor that I dearly love but can seldom support) between the two services, which constitutes the remainder of this article. It’s still apples and oranges since the two services have differences in coverage and emphasis, but I’ll give it the old college try. In the process, I’ll also be comparing searching in SciFinder to searching in STN, the system with which I have decades of experience (…) «