Mendeley is now more social: featuring collaborative groups, in-app tutorial, & updated citation styles.

This week we have released a new version of Mendeley with some major updates. The major new feature in Mendeley 0.9.8.1 is public collaborative groups.

What are groups?

Groups are a simple way for you to collaborate with your colleagues to create a shared collection of documents. Groups allow members to put together a list of papers and share notes. There are three types of groups:

Private groups – These private groups are visible only to members, who can share papers and notes. These work like the shared collections in previous versions of Mendeley.

Invite-only groups – These groups are visible to the public, but each has an owner who administers the group. These work like the shared collections in previous versions of Mendeley with one major change – now any member can add documents.

Open groups – Anyone can join and contribute to these groups. We think they’ll be a great way to build community-driven collections of literature around a subject.

How can groups help me share and discover research?

Groups allow you to collaborate with your contacts or with any member of the Mendeley community. In private groups, you may share and annotate a list of documents with your collaborators from right within your PDF organizer instead of emailing notes and ideas back-and-forth. In public groups, you may create a reading list with your colleagues and make it accessible to anyone on the web. You may have that list embedded on any external website and have it update automatically, with no editing required. Interested people may subscribe to the list so they get notified of new additions. Groups now also have an activity feed on Mendeley Web and in Mendeley Desktop, helping you stay up to date on new additions and discussions within the group.

Here’s how the activity feed looks in Desktop:

Here’s how the new Member page looks on the web:

Because existing public collections are now “public invite-only groups”, there are already a huge number of fantastic groups for you to go and check out.

Here are some of our favorites:

Synthetic Biology
Information Retrieval
Design Theory Basics
Reinventing the Scientific Paper
Creatively Named Research Papers
Data Sharing and Withholding
with a special mention to Open Access Week

Other notable changes include:

  • New User Orientation – We’ve included an in-app tutorial which gives you a brief tour of Mendeley’s features. Go to ‘Help -> Getting Started Tutorial’ to activate it.
  • Improved citation and bibliography formatting – This release adds support for Citation Style Language version 1.0 using citeproc-js.
  • Links to Canonical documents from Mendeley Desktop – When viewing details for an article, Mendeley Desktop will try to match them to an article in the Mendeley catalog, giving you easy access to additional information about the article such as readership statistics, related research, and for some papers, links to copies of the full text.
  • Improvements to the metadata editor and PDF viewer
  • Fixed bugs related to the Word plugin, inline citations, deduplication, Zotero sync, and various cosmetic enhancements.

We would like to thank Frank Bennett, Bruce D’Arcus and everyone else who has contributed to the Citation Style Language and the citeproc-js processor for their great work which lays the foundation for our in-app citation style editor.

Get started with groups now. If you want to create a group, or get involved with an existing group, it couldn’t be easier – just login or sign up to Mendeley to get started. Those of you who are already using groups can read about how the changes affect your existing groups here.

17 thoughts on “Mendeley is now more social: featuring collaborative groups, in-app tutorial, & updated citation styles.

  1. Thanks Robert.

    I’ll wait for the repository version.

    Is there any special reason for the delay between the Windows and Linux builds? If I remember correctly, that’s the first time(*) I have to wait for an update after you release it for Windows.

    (*) Or at least, I never waited so long. Have been checking for updates obsessively these last few days… Good thing the wait is (almost) over.

  2. Still waiting for the born supports of editable styles and journal abbrev. CSL and citeproc-js may serve these requirements but I think they may have a very steep learning curve for common user. Please add these in Mendeley. I really love this software but I will stick to Endnote unless these features are provided. Thanks !

  3. For those asking about repository versions, they are now available as part of the 0.9.8.1 release we did which features all the new content of 0.9.8 along with some additional bug fixes.

    Sorry for the delay.

  4. Is there any easy way to convert one kind of group/collection/folder to another from within the Mendeley Desktop Interface? For example, if I have an existing “Folder” and decide that I want to turn it into some kind of group, is it possible to convert it into a group (of whatever sort), or do I need to create a new group separately and then copy the contents of the “Folder” to that group?

  5. Hi Thiago,

    As mentioned before, the generic Linux builds are always available at the same time as the Windows and Mac builds. It is the Ubuntu/Debian specific repositories which are sometimes rolled out separately.

    The main reason for this is handling updates vs new installations.

    For the generic builds for Windows, Mac and Linux auto-updates and new downloads are separate. Sometimes in the past we have found it easier to roll out the downloads first and then auto-updates a little while later. For the Linux repository builds, there is no difference between an install and an upgrade, so we sometimes hold them back until the auto-updates are ready to go.

    In this case we decided to hold back until some additional bug fixes were ready for all platforms.

  6. So do you guys really have to keep promoting an “in-app citation style editor”? I can’t help but think this is conflicting with the idea I’ve been promoting all along, and which I thought you all were on board with, of a web-based repository. And I keep getting conflicting information on where you really stand.

  7. Just to be sure we’re clear on this, Bruce, I was just talking about editing the styles. We’re definitely on board with the idea of a web-based repository.

  8. @William: but I don’t get that either. Maybe I’m just missing something, but if you privilege editing within the client app, I don’t see how that doesn’t undermine the social mechanism of maintaining styles, and with that perversely make things more difficult for your users in the end. In other words, if a user comes across what they think is a bug in some widely used style, how will that bug get resolved? Or conversely, a user needs a style they don’t have installed: how do they get the new app? How do other Mendeley, Zotero, etc. users get access to those styles?

    I think, in general, the belief that users NEED style editing in their client app is overblown.

  9. People are already editing the CSL themselves and that benefits no one but themselves and the few people that know them. With in-app style editing, the edits can then go back to the repository for anyone else to use. This allows even rarely used styles to be available to anyone. I can only see upsides to this, personally, but if there’s something I’m not considering, please let me know.

  10. People are already editing the CSL themselves and that benefits no one but themselves and the few people that know them.

    The vast majority of the over 1,000 extant CSL styles are a product of collective work that gets seamlessly distributed to hundreds of thousands of users. If we didn’t have that social mechanism, imperfect as it may be, we wouldn’t have a fraction of that number and quality.

    With in-app style editing, the edits can then go back to the repository for anyone else to use. This allows even rarely used styles to be available to anyone. I can only see upsides to this, personally, but if there’s something I’m not considering, please let me know.

    You haven’t really answered my question about exactly how this would happen, though, and the devil really is in the details here. If a Mendeley user comes across what they believe is a bug in a widely used style like APA or Chicago, how does that bug get resolved, or for whom? How would “the edits … go back to the repository”? As some kind of patch and pull request a la github? If yes, it might work, particularly if the same exact app is available server side (is that the idea?). But I still think the latter ought to be the first priority.

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