Our lives are more networked than ever before; does that make them more vulnerable?

Mendeley Brainstorm: Hacking – How Secure Are We?

Our lives are more networked than ever before; does that make them more vulnerable?
Our lives are more networked than ever before; how vulnerable are we?

Recently, a nuclear power plant was hacked. According to Reuters, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency said the attack “caused some problems” and the plant had to “take some precautionary measures.”  Given the increased prevalence of internet-enabled applications, how vulnerable are we to cyber-attacks and what can be done to prevent them? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research!  The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth £50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes November 23.

Hacking – Not Just for PCs Anymore

The arrival of the Internet of Things has meant that our lives are more networked than ever before; the internet isn’t merely on a computer stuck in the corner, it’s connected to our phones (which track our every movement), it’s embedded into our appliances and vehicles, it’s wired up to security cameras and to life support machines.  However, this widespread connectivity also is indicative of a just as widespread vulnerability: our personal data, our public services, and even our cars could be hacked.

New Dangers

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said a nuclear plant had been hacked. While he didn’t fully spell out the risks, he noted that the security breach had “caused some problems” and “some precautionary measures” were required.

And Continuing Vulnerabilities

On October 11, Symantec revealed that hackers had attacked users of the SWIFT financial transfer network.  The goal was to use “malware to hide customers’ own records of Swift messages relating to fraudulent transactions”.

What Can Be Done?

It’s been projected that “$1 trillion will be spent globally on cybersecurity from 2017 to 2021”; but is this expenditure in vain?  Can our data, our banks, and our public services be truly protected? What can be done enhance security?  Tell us!

About Mendeley Brainstorms

Our Brainstorms are challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research.  We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.


Cybersecurity Ventures. (2016). The Cybersecurity Market Report covers the business of cybersecurity, including market sizing and industry forecasts, spending, notable M&A and IPO activity, and more. [online] Available at: http://cybersecurityventures.com/cybersecurity-market-report/ [Accessed 11 Oct. 2016].

PEYTON, A. (2016). Symantec reveals more hack attempts on Swift network.  Banking Technology. [online] Available at: http://www.bankingtech.com/606802/symantec-reveals-more-hack-attempts-on-swift-network/ [Accessed 13 Oct. 2016].

SHARWOOD, S. (2016). Nuke plant has been hacked, says Atomic Energy Agency director The Register. [online] Available at: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/10/11/nuke_plant_has_been_hacked_says_atomic_energy_agency_director/ [Accessed 11 Oct. 2016].

Why we (need to) celebrate Ada Lovelace Day


Happy Ada Lovelace Day! It’s been seven years since it was founded by Suw Charman-Anderson. While that is an eternity in the tech world (think how many new iPhones have been released since!), there are things that move more slowly in tech than an app release schedule.

Our Mendeley Mobile Apps Product Manager shares her thoughts on why we still need to celebrate Ada Lovelace, and by association, all women in STEM.

A little history

Before we discuss why we still (should) celebrate Ada Lovelace day, let’s first look at who was Ada Lovelace.

Ada became countess of Lovelace through marriage, but before that she was educated in mathematics and logic. This was unusual for girls in her time, but her mother promoted her interests in these subjects. Through her interest in math, she met Charles Babbage, known as the ‘father of computers’. In the early 1840s, Ada wrote a set of notes on Babbage’s Analytical Engine, which were later recognised as being the first algorithm to be carried out by a machine. As such, she is known as the world’s first computer programmer. Not just the world’s first female programmer (how she is often referred), but the first programmer. Full stop.

In addition, her vision included the capability of computers going beyond just number-crunching, which is what many others including Babbage focused on at the time. She was a visionary beyond her time. She was also a woman, in a period where it was uncommon for even wealthy women to have enjoyed education that included mathematics or science. A more common pursuit for women in that time was to study more feminine subjects, such as music.

(Of course now we know there is a relationship between music and mathematics, and there are studies suggesting music can help with mathematics education.)

Today, women have far more opportunities than in Ada’s time. Though the gender ratio in technology and engineering is below 50-50, a considerable number of women work in tech these days. Yet, they are still under represented at tech conferences and in technology itself. Combine this with the varying statistics around salary disparities between men and women (in similar roles), and we are still facing different gaps that need to be closed.

Ada Lovelace Day is meant to bring awareness to great work done by women in STEM fields. Why? Because despite science education being available to girls and boys equally, we do not see the same number of men and women in these jobs. There are various unconscious biases we all have, and each of them may contribute to this disparity.

Computer Science as “Women’s work”?

History rarely goes in a straight line, and when it comes to women in tech, there have been a few interesting detours. Today, you imagine the typical dev team to be mostly men. The pendulum swung another way once upon a time. In the 1940s women were hired to work on the ENIAC machine, one of the world’s first computer. By the 1960s, Cosmopolitan magazine published an article showcasing “Computer Girls” and programming as a great career option for women. In fact, programming was considered a mostly feminine endeavour. Unfortunately, not for the right reasons. Employers expected programming to be low-skilled clerical work similar to typing and filing. The Cosmopolitan article even refers to it being akin to “planning a dinner party”. Developing hardware was considered the more difficult, and thus masculine, aspect of computers. Nonetheless, women continued to be hired even as the industry started to change and become more biased towards men, simply because there was such a demand for programmers.

Changing the discussion

The fact that we still need reminders about bias in STEM jobs favoring men over women says the discussion on this topic is far from done. Although it is definitely a gender discussion, it is also one of ability. I’d like to suggest a challenge and a change of perspective in that discussion. Perhaps if we stop thinking of classically STEM fields as “hard” versus for example the arts as “easy/easier”, or specifically feminine/masculine, then we may change the discussion for the next generations. I remember growing up being told that “Math is for boys”. Followed by “Math is hard”. It is universally known that our culture and societal expectations greatly influence our career choices. Ada Lovelace pursued math at a time when it was highly unusual for women. There is no way to know if and how much resistance she was met with along the way. We do know her family was well off, which certainly helped her in her studies and scientific pursuits.

The discussion should really not be about gender at all, even if today we focus on women’s achievements in STEM. Instead, let’s start opening up the conversation to say nursing and teaching are great careers for boys, and studying physics is just as exciting as linguistics. Then perhaps we do not only see more women in STEM fields, but more men in the arts and social sciences. When we are all pursuing careers where we can make a difference, and careers we love, these fields become a better place for everyone, regardless of gender.

Christine Buske received an HBSc in Biotechnology & Economics, and a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience, from the University of Toronto. Since completing her PhD, she has made a career shift into technology and loves all things mobile. You follow her on Twitter. Have you checked out the Mendeley mobile apps yet?  Mendeley is available on both iOS and Android.




Mendeley celebrates Ada Lovelace Day: Get your free poster!


Today is Ada Lovelace Day! Today we, along with the rest of the world, honor the world’s first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace. It is a day to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women in STEM fields.

For today only (Tuesday, 11 October), we are giving away a limited edition of our Women in STEM poster, by artist and scientist Claudia Stocker. Email mendeley-community@mendeley.com and we will mail you the poster, anywhere* in the world. Please include your full name, mailing address, and phone number in the email, otherwise we can not send your poster. Entries accepted until the end of day (which is actually 11:00 GMT on 12 October, to accommodate the whole globe!)

We’re participating online, with short videos highlighting women in STEM careers who work with us at Mendeley, in hopes of being role models to encourage more girls to go into STEM careers. Follow our Twitter and Facebook and see what others are sharing under #ALD16.

Liked our short videos and want to see more? Check out our more in-depth Women in STEM series on YouTube:


*We will do our best to send it to your country. Occasionally, we have issues with customs in certain countries.


Mendeley Bootcamp for German-speaking researchers


All scientists have one thing in common: The passion for our research. But growing requirements require fast and efficient cooperation, access to literature from anywhere, timely synchronization of laboratory results and to be in contact with other researchers worldwide. That sounds like a challenge, right? No more! With Mendeley you can easily optimize your everyday work and devote your time what actually really matters: your research.

Developed by scientists for scientists, Mendeley connects you worldwide with 6+ million users.

Join Mendeley Bootcamp 2016 for German speaking. An exclusive webinar series aimed to German speaking researchers focused on how Mendeley can help you manage your references, understand the impact of your research and showcase your work.

The webinar series will cover the use of Mendeley as:

* A powerful Reference Management Tool to Store, read, annotate and cite literature both individually and collaboratively anywhere on any device.

* A Scholarly Collaboration Network with a global community of 6+ mill researchers across all scientific disciplines to connect, collaborate and showcase their work.

* A personal analytics dashboard enabling researchers to evaluate the performance and societal impact of their publications via a concise and comprehensive collection of key performance metrics.

* A discovery tool with personalised Recommenders, Alerts, and media updates, enabling researchers to stay up to date in their fields.

* A data repository to securely store datasets online so they can be cited and shared.


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Register now!

Win a pair of tickets to Ada Lovelace Day Live in London!



We’re happy and proud to sponsor and contribute to Ada Lovelace Day, held annually on 11 October. Mendeley is sponsoring the Ada Lovelace Day Live!, an annual celebration of the achievements of women in STEM. Ada Lovelace was the world’s first computer programmer, and a perfect figurehead to represent women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics field.

The event features an inspiring line up of seven women from across the UK STEM world — design engineer Yewande Akinola, planetary physicist Dr Sheila Kanani, science writer Dr Kat Arney, developer Jenny Duckett, mathematician Dr Sara Santos, computational biologist Dr Bissan Al-Lazikani, and climate scientist Dr Anna Jones — each of whom will be giving a ten minute talk about their work. The evening is being compèred by the fabulous Helen Keen.

Mendeley is offering two pairs of tickets to attend this incredible event*, held this year at the IET, Savoy Place, in London at 6:30p.m. on Tuesday 11 October. This contest is now closed. Two names will be drawn at random. Want to make sure you secure your place or need more tickets? Tickets are £20 general entry and £5 concessions, and are available from Eventbrite.

We will also be participating in the worldwide celebrations by interviewing and highlighting women in STEM careers here at Mendeley! Follow our Twitter and Facebook this week and next for new contests, interesting facts and links, and brief interviews. Get a headstart with our Women in STEM series on YouTube:


*Prize is for event entry only. Contest winners are responsible for their own transportation and stay in London.

Search thousands of science and technology jobs at Mendeley Careers – launching in October


Finding the right job is important to build your expertise, further your research and get the exposure you need to develop your career. And job listings are not always about finding your next position, but keeping up-to-date in your field, or across disciplines.

Mendeley is launching a new Careers service, which will select thousands of relevant science and technology job postings from the leading job boards, academic institutions, company employers, and recruitment agencies across the world.

You will be able to search and apply for your next position on Mendeley. Sign up for email alerts tailored to your search criteria, and upload your resume to let recruiters and jobs come to you.

Mendeley Careers will also offer guides and resources to help you with your job search and to develop your career further.

Watch for Mendeley Careers launching in October.

We are interested to learn from you about your interest in seeking job and funding opportunities via the Mendeley network. So whether you’re actively seeking or just keeping your options open, check out these opportunities, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Congratulations to our Advisor of the Month, Duncan Casey!

Congratulations and thank you to Duncan Casey! Duncan is one of the Mendeley Advisors who showcased his research work through a hands-on demonstration at Mendeley’s booth at New Scientist Live! Duncan and his colleagues from Imperial College brought along their laser tractor beam and challenged attendees to race a polystyrene ball around a track! Yes, we said tractor beam.

While at New Scientist Live, Duncan also helped answer questions about science, which we posted on Twitter under the hashtag #MendeleyWall, and appeared on BBC Radio 5 answering callers’ questions live at New Scientist Live!

Learn more about Duncan and why he thinks Mendeley is great even for technophobes:

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?
Mine’s been less a career path and more a random walk. I started out my scientific career expecting to be a drug development chemist but once I actually got to try it, I found I didn’t like it much. From there, I started investigating drug transport around the body, ended up developing techniques and tools to analyse cell membranes and almost accidentally picked up some experience in laser optics along the way. My research now revolves around mixing the three skill-sets together – in using lasers and surface chemistry to do biology experiments on a very small scale.
Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?
Creative anarchy! When everything is working well, there’s a lot of excited shouting going on as a room full of smart people bounce ideas off each other. Some ideas are ridiculous, some are inspired, and a few are both.

How long have you been on Mendeley and what were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?
I’ve been using Mendeley since about 2008, I think – I was asked to review it for a newspaper article, and found it a huge improvement on any of the reference management platforms I’d encountered up until that point. At the time it didn’t quite do what I needed, but clearly had a lot of potential, so I got involved as an advisor and helped a little with the development and testing of Mendeley Groups.

My research involves lots of people with widely differing areas of expertise spread across several countries, and everyone’s learning at least one new science. Being able to keep a body of both our own work and a core package of reference texts in one place has helped hugely when bringing new members up to speed, while being able to discuss and debate new papers or ideas in a single platform has been a lot of help.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?
When I first started using Mendeley it was only really suitable for small groups of researchers – it was more a reference manager than an out-and-out collaboration tool. At the time, I was working on my Ph.D. at Imperial’s Institute of Chemical Biology, and we needed something with a bit more breadth that could handle 30-40 researchers attacking a problem at the same time. That fed into what became Mendeley Groups, and my team became the pilot project for Imperial College’s use of the system as it became an increasingly integral part of the way we worked. I now use the same system to work with my team of engineering students at LJMU, as I try to turn them into physicists and instrument designers.

What academic/researcher/librarian would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?
Richard Feynman. He was a seriously, seriously smart man with a pointy sense of humour, and a side-line playing bongo drums in strip clubs.

Attendee at New Scientist Live attempting to steer a particle around a laser beam track created by Casey

What book are you reading at the moment and why?
Depressingly, I’m trying to teach myself a couple of programming languages as I’m getting tired of being shown up by my students – that’s taking up a fair bit of my time. Outside of that, though, I’m slowly working my way through Jody Taylor’s novels about time-travelling historians. You wouldn’t necessarily accuse them of being high literature, but the enthusiastic chaos and cobbled-together hardware she describes makes me think she’s spent some time in academic R&D.

What is the best part about working in research?
I work in an expensive, dangerous toy shop making lasers do things they aren’t supposed to. What’s not to like? What’s really good fun is when you see something dreamt up on the back of a beer mat turning into a real experiment, instrument or product. The very best ones are those that are glaringly obvious to everyone exactly one second after you’ve made the first prototype – those are the ideas you know are going to be successful.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?
It’s about 99% frustration to 1 part exultation. If you aren’t comfortable with (or at least able to tolerate) really great-sounding ideas failing because of either accident, oversight or just some weird interaction with something that no-one had seen before, it’s not a game for you. When it’s good, though, it’s the best job in the world.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?
Just about every function it has is exactly where you’d expect to find it – someone clearly spent a lot of time and effort making the thing intuitive to use, and even my old technophobe supervisors got to grips with it pretty quickly.