Mendelife – Meet Rosario Garcia de Zuniga

Rosario Garcia de Zuniga

Rosario is a Senior Software Engineer and Team Lead here at Mendeley, and she’s been with us pretty much from the start, nearly 4 years! So we catch up with her to ask what it was like back then, what’s changed, and what makes her stick around!

Do you have any nicknames?
Many, but the most recent one is Rosie

Where did you work before coming to Mendeley?
Before moving to London I was working at the University of Seville for RedIRIS which is the Spanish National Technology Foundation.

What made you apply for a job at Mendeley?
The company was young with an interesting and really ambitious goal. I
always wanted to be part of something big and Mendeley seemed to have a
lot of potential.

When you started working here, were things like you expected?
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I do remember being really
scared of speaking English, as at that time wasn’t very good, and I was
really quiet… That’s not really happening any more! Good times
though…

Have things changed in Mendeley since you started working here?
A lot! When I joined we were like 10-12 people if I remember correctly.
I’ve moved offices once and desks… I can’t even remember how many
times now! There’s been times I’ve arrived to the office after holidays
and not recognised half of the people there, but that’s always fun! They
look as confused as I do 😉

What’s the best thing about coming to work at Mendeley?
The people I work with, without any doubt. I love my team! What we’re
building is amazing and is helping a lot of researchers to make this
world better! That’s what gets me out of bed every day.

Do you have any pets?
My family has 2 little cute dogs (smooth fox terriers) in Spain – I pretty much love all animals, but I have a special soft spot for sausage dogs, they’re just too cute.

Who would be invited to your perfect dinner party?
The Monty Pythons, Tchaikovsky, Chris O’Dowd, Einstein, Freddy Mercury and all the people I love! The more the merrier.

What is the one website you can’t live without?
Soundcloud and Grooveshark

When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
I changed my mind a lot actually… First, like my mum, a chemist, so I could make my own potions – then an engineer, like my dad, who I consider one of the smartest people I know. And then finally, a pianist, but it was too late for that when I had to decide!

If you could acquire one extra skill or talent, what would that be?
Being musically gifted would be amazing. I’d love if I could play the piano.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?
I tend to have a few books in the pipeline and I read them as my mood goes – reading a few techie books, a few comic books (Maus, Saga) and some others…

What was the first record you ever bought?
I think it was No Need to Argue by The Cranberries.

What music is on your iPod at the moment?
A lot. Around 300 playlists and nearly 9k tracks on my Spotify… I pretty much listen to everything, but lately what keeps me going is Pretty Lights.

Favourite video game/hobby?
My favourite video game of all time is Final Fantasy VII. My favourite hobby, without any doubt: listening to music and dancing.

Favourite food/drink?
Serrano ham, french fries, cheese / Coca Cola, a nice wine and Hendricks!

Favourite film?
Difficult to choose… I never get tired of Finding Nemo, A Clockwork Orange, Moulin Rouge or The Notebook.

Favourite place in the world?
Any sunny solitary beach does it for me, really. Maracaipe in Porto de Galinhas, Brazil would be my current favourite.

Three things you would put in Room 101
Rude/mean people, politicians, Internet trolls.

Now for a serious one worthy of the Mendeley vision: If you could give unlimited funding and resources to one area of research, what would it be and why?

Cancer. Unfortunately, I’ve had to see a lot of my loved ones dying and suffering from it.

Mendeley and Elsevier – here’s more info

 

Victor science
Victor Henning, Mendeley Co-Founder, speaks at the ScienceBusiness Awards 2012 in Brussels (Photo by ScienceBusiness)

The news of Mendeley joining Elsevier made some waves last week.

On Twitter, with typical understatement, it was compared to the Rebel Alliance joining the Galactic Empire, to peasants posing as a human shield for Kim Jong-Un, and to Austin Powers teaming up with Dr Evil.

It’s true that, when I was 13, I played through X-Wingon my Amstrad 486 PC, then had fun playing an Empire pilot in the TIE Fighter sequel — and I’m also half Korean. So while my colleagues are busy mounting the frickin’ laser beams onto the heads of the sharks we brought in to replace our foosball table, I thought I would address some of the other concerns and questions that were raised.

What is the “real” reason for Elsevier acquiring Mendeley?

The question that emerged most frequently, sometimes in the tone of conspiratorial whispers, was about the “real” reason Elsevier acquired Mendeley. Surely there must be a man behind the curtain with a devious masterplan? Not quite. In my mind, it’s straightforward: Elsevier is in the business of providing scientific information to the academic community. In order to serve academics better, it acquired one of the best tools for managing and sharing scientific information. Elsevier can now provide its customers with solutions along the entire academic workflow: Content discovery & access, knowledge management & collaboration, and publication & dissemination. Mendeley provides the missing link in the middle, and brings Elsevier closer to its customers. This makes intuitive sense to me, and I hope you can see the rationale, too.

But what will Elsevier do with Mendeley’s data?

Some people voiced concerns that Elsevier wanted Mendeley’s data to clamp down on sharing or collaboration, sell the data on in a way that infringes our users’ privacy, or use it against them somehow. We will not do any of those things. Since the announcement, we have already upgraded our Mendeley Advisors to free Team Accounts, and are currently reviewing how we can make collaboration and sharing easier for everyone on Mendeley. Also, I want to be clear that we would never pass on our users’ personal data to third parties, or enable third parties to use our users’ data against them.

Of course, Mendeley’s data does have commercial value. Even before the Elsevier acquisition, Mendeley was “selling user data” — but in an aggregate, anonymized fashion – to university libraries: The Mendeley Institutional Edition (MIE) dashboard contains non-personal information about which journals are being read the most by an institution’s faculty and students. Librarians use this information to make better journal subscription decisions on behalf of their researchers, and more than 20 leading research institutions in North America, Europe, and Asia have signed up since its launch last summer.

Mendeley’s Open API also offers aggregate, anonymized usage data, though on a global rather than institutional basis. Mendeley gives this data away for free under a Creative Commons CC-BY license. It’s being used by tools like ImpactStory.org or Altmetrics.com, which are building business models around altmetrics data. Again, you could argue that Mendeley’s usage data is being “sold”, and even sold by third parties. However, as you can see, the general principle is that the data is used only for positive purposes, like analyzing research trends and scholarly impact, without violating the privacy of Mendeley users. That’s how we will keep it in the future, and this applies to any usage of the data by Elsevier or via our Open API.

So how will Elsevier make money off Mendeley?

The existing Mendeley offering will continue to be free, so that we can continue to grow our user base as we have in the past, and we will also integrate Mendeley into Elsevier’s existing offerings like ScienceDirect or Scopus to increase their value. This actually means that we’re now under less short term pressure to monetize Mendeley’s individual users. When we were an independent start-up, we had to think about charging for every new or additional feature, in order to get to break even. Now, we can think more about the long term again.

For example, this enabled us to double our users’ storage space for free immediately after the Elsevier announcement. We had previously also planned to make the sync of highlights & annotations in our forthcoming new iOS app a premium feature – today, we decided instead that it will be free for all users, and thus also free for all third-party app developers to implement. And, as mentioned above, we are currently reviewing our collaboration features to see if we can expand them for free, too.

Lastly, what does your new role in the strategy team at Elsevier mean in practice?

Along with the Elsevier news last week, it was announced that I would – in addition to my role at Mendeley – be joining the Elsevier strategy team as a VP of Strategy. A number of our users and Mendeley Advisors have asked what this will mean in practice, and how my input would be taken onboard.

I’ve been in Amsterdam this week to meet some of my new colleagues and exchange ideas — it’s been genuinely enjoyable and inspiring, so we’re off to a very promising start. I’ve been asked to support them in sharing not just Mendeley’s features, but also Mendeley’s experiences and user-centric values with the Elsevier organization, and to keep pushing the ideas that have made Mendeley successful. Conversely, I will also work on how to best bring Elsevier’s tools, data, and content onto the Mendeley development roadmap and into our users’ daily workflow.

We’re not short of amazing ideas, and you have shared some really exciting suggestions with us as well – the challenge will be to pick the best ones and actually get them done. As always, we will be listening closely to your feedback on how to improve our products and set our development roadmap. Watch this space!

 

Worldwide Research Collaboration Mapped Out

Collaboration Map UK

Academia has a reputation for being a bit of a closed world, a walled garden of knowledge where secrets are jealously guarded. But the truth is that collaboration is at the very heart of research and scientific discovery, and that for science to advance, researchers need to get together, compare notes, disagree, and have their ideas challenged and built upon by others. Often this happens naturally – like in the cafeteria where PhD students will chat about their projects – but in such a hyper-specialized environment, chances are that people who share your particular research interests cannot be found in the same institution or even the same country. What then?

In the same way that social media has revolutionised personal and professional communication and created dynamic global conversations, platforms like Mendeley now bring academics together in groups formed around those research interests, and the implications of that are tremendous for making science more open and accelerating the pace of discovery.This is why the team here at Mendeley is particularly interested in gaining genuine, real-time insight into research collaboration.

Mendeley is involved in several research projects. Particularly fruitful has been an on-going exchange of researchers and Mendeley staff between our London HQ and the Know-Center at Graz University of Technology in Austria. All projects aim to contribute to the improved use of the wealth of Mendeley data for the benefit of our users and the scientific community in general.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, this recent investigation of research collaboration started as a Hack Day project between Mendeley staff and a visiting researcher from the Know-Center/TU Graz in the context of the TEAM project (http://team-project.tugraz.at) which is coordinated by the Knowledge Management Institute of the TU Graz. Sebastian Pöhlmann (Insights and Analytics Manager) and Piotr Drozd (Community and Business Intelligence Analyst) teamed up with Peter Kraker (PhD student, Know-Center/TU Graz) to visualise cross-country collaboration on the Mendeley platform.

An interactive map has been created that aims to shed some light into the intensity of international research collaboration across different countries. Considering that using Mendeley groups is optional for our users, we are excited to have data on 113 countries. For each of those we show the continent, the rank by user count, the number of connected countries and the proportion of foreign (= international) connections.

By browsing the map or making a selection from the list, you can visualise the connections between researchers for any given country. A connection between two countries is established if at least one of each country’s researchers are members of the same Mendeley group. Of the over 200,000 research groups on Mendeley, we’ve selected private groups with at least two members, as that tends to be the most collaborative group type. Our staff is also very active on the platform so we’ve further excluded groups owned by Mendeley staff  and connections where Mendeley staff are involved. We have further excluded countries with less than 10 total connections.

Browsing the map and the data has produced some interesting insights:

  • Among BRICS countries, China, India and Russia have a high proportion of international connections whereas Brazil and South Africa seem somewhat more internally focused
  • Generally speaking, North America, Europe, and Australia are very well connected, whereas Asia and South America are somewhat lagging behind.
  • There are a few small countries that are very internationalized: Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, and Denmark. Interestingly, these countries are also at the top of the KOF Index of Globalization: http://globalization.kof.ethz.ch/static/pdf/rankings_2012.pdf

This is early days, but we hope that by learning more about how our users collaborate with each other, we can continue to develop the best tools to help them work even more efficiently. And by sharing some of the insights on Mendeley Labs we want to contribute our part of the picture to the general knowledge of how research works.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts. What does collaboration mean to you and how would you go about measuring and visualizing it?

 

Good News, lots more storage for everybody!

 

Mendeley Storage Upgrade

We wanted to let you know that we’ve made some changes to give our user community a better Mendeley experience. From now on all personal and Mendeley Institutional Edition accounts (apart from the ones that already have unlimited storage) will get a lot more personal library space for storing documents. Here’s how it works:

  • Free plan users who currently get 1GB of storage will now get 2GB
  • Plus plan and MIE users who have 2GB will now get  5GB
  • Pro plan users’ limit will increase from 5GB to 10GB

This applies to all new and existing Mendeley users, and you don’t need to do anything, the new limits should already be in place on your accounts.

And for our dedicated community of Mendeley Advisors all around the world, we’ve also added an extra bonus: Each Advisor will receive – in addition to the increased personal library space – a Team package with 20GBs of group space and an unlimited number of groups with up to 10 collaborators each. This Team package is currently worth £59 ($74) a month, and is something that our community has been asking for, so we’re really pleased to make this available!

Mendeley is a collaborative platform, and we’re always looking at ways to make that collaboration easier, so although we’re only giving these enhanced group features to our advisors at the moment, we’re looking at ways to extend those benefits to all our users in the near future, so watch this space!

In the meantime let us know in the comments below what you think about the upgrades, and if you have any questions as always you can get in touch with support@mendeley.com

Team Mendeley is joining Elsevier. Good things are about to happen!

Today we are excited to announce that Mendeley is joining Elsevier!

Team-Photo-560px

You might already have heard some rumors and speculation about this in the past few weeks. We hope you’ll understand that we couldn’t address the rumors head-on until there was some actual news to share with you. Now that the union is official, we would like to take some time to explain how it will benefit Mendeley’s and Elsevier’s users, the research community in general, as well as address some of the questions you may have.

The most important things first: very little will change for you as a Mendeley user. In fact, Mendeley is only going to get better for you. For starters, we are doubling everyone’s storage space at no cost. Your free Mendeley account now comes with 2GB, Mendeley Plus and MIE accounts get upgraded to 5GB, and Mendeley Pro accounts to 10GB. There will always be a free version of Mendeley, and our functionality will continue to improve, now even faster than before. We will focus on what has made Mendeley a success in the first place: ensuring that everything we do makes our users’ lives easier and listening closely to your needs. Your data will still be owned by you, we will continue to support standard and open data formats for import and export to ensure that data portability, and – as explained recently – we will invest heavily in our Open API, which will further evolve as a treasure trove of openly licensed research data. Our vision continues to be to make science more collaborative and open, and now we will work towards this vision with the support of the world’s largest science publisher.

Elsevier’s resources, partnerships, and reach in the academic, library, and professional community will enable us to accelerate our progress towards our vision. Our team will expand significantly over the next few years. Elsevier’s Scopus and ScienceDirect platforms will become seamlessly interoperable with Mendeley, creating a central discovery, workflow, and collaboration network for the global research community. Here’s Elsevier’s comments about what they expect from the partnership.

On a more personal note, let me also explain why we chose to team up with Elsevier at this point. Mendeley had just raised a significant round of funding from existing and new investors, with more investors wanting to join. Also, Mendeley’s revenues from our individual and team premium accounts, as well as our new Mendeley Institutional Edition, had tripled over the past year. We could have continued on our path independently, yet we felt that the opportunity to give our users access to better content, more data, and faster development was just too exciting to pass up.

Of course, we are aware that – especially in the past year – the academic community has criticized Elsevier for some of its policies and positions. Our own relationship with Elsevier has been conflicted at times. Elsevier is a multi-faceted company with over 7000 employees, so it is impossible to put them into a single box. We were being challenged by some parts of the organization over whether we intended to undermine journal publishers (which was never the case), while other parts of the organization were building successful working relationships with us and even helped to promote Mendeley.

For example, when Elsevier decided to shut down its social bookmarking service, the 2collab team collaborated with us to build a data import tool, then recommended their users to migrate to us, the upstart competitor. When we co-hosted (together with Nature Publishing Group and the British Library) the Science Online London Conference to talk about Open Science, Elsevier was one of our first sponsors. And when we launched our Open API, Elsevier was the first major publisher to embrace our data and build a Mendeley Readership App for their application platform.

Time and time again, Elsevier struck us as one of the most innovative and tech-savvy publishers out there. They have launched challenges to make research papers more interactive and useful, improve the process and incentives of peer review, and build knowledge discovery and visualization tools for the life sciences. They provide tools for exploring and unearthing connections between researchers and contribute to the ORCID author profile initiative. Like us, the Elsevier Labs team is researching semantics, taxonomies, natural language processing, data visualization, and big data analytics. Lastly, Elsevier’s applications platform mirrors our own ambition of enabling developers to create unique new research tools.

Elsevier is a large, complex organization – to say the least! While not all of its moves or business models have been universally embraced, it is also a hugely relevant, dynamic force in global publishing and research. More importantly, we have found that the individual team members – the employees, editors, innovators, and tool developers we’ve worked with – all share our genuine desire to advance science. This is why we’re thrilled to join Elsevier and help shape its future.

In sum, the overlap between Elsevier’s and our vision has always been remarkable. Combining Elsevier’s content, analytics tools, and long-standing publisher/society relationships with Mendeley’s collaboration platform and social data will enable both of us to develop amazing new services that will make your research life easier.

I know you’ll have a lot of questions, so please find some additional information here. If you’re still skeptical about whether this will be a good thing for you as a user, we hope to convince you by our actions over the next few weeks and months. Good things are about to happen!

Thank you for all of your support, and thanks especially to our incredible team of Mendeley Advisors!

Jan, Paul, Victor, and Team Mendeley

Q&A: Team Mendeley Joins Elsevier

Will Mendeley still be free?

Yes! There will always be a free version of Mendeley.

Will Mendeley continue to develop new features?

Yes – we will even become faster, as having access to Elsevier’s resources, partnerships, and reach in the academic, librarian, and professional R&D community will allow us to accelerate our development. Please head over to our feedback forum to vote for your favourite feature suggestions.

What will change for Mendeley’s users?

For starters, we are doubling everyone’s storage space at no cost. Your free Mendeley account now comes with 2GB, Mendeley Plus and MIE accounts get upgraded to 5GB, and Mendeley Pro accounts to 10GB. In the future, we will also start offering you better access to content and additional data, e.g. citation metrics, from within the Mendeley interface.

What will change for users of SciVerse, Scopus, or ScienceDirect?

You can expect seamless interoperability with all of these tools: Exporting documents, references, and data to Mendeley will become much easier. Also, content in SciVerse, Scopus, and ScienceDirect will be enriched with Mendeley’s data, such as recommendations and readership statistics. Lastly, we will be considering special Mendeley premium upgrades for Elsevier customers.

Will there be changes to Mendeley’s premium packages or pricing?

Not in relation to this announcement – we are not planning any price increases to the premium/team packages we are offering today. Of course, we are always reviewing our premium offerings to ensure that they are affordable and meet our users needs, so they will continue to evolve over time.

What happens to my data in Mendeley?

Everything stays the same. You still own your data and can delete it at any point in time. You will always be able to import and export your data locally in standard formats (such as BibTex, RIS, and XML). Additionally, as has always been our policy, Mendeley will continue to offer you private and secure access to your data via our Open API, which means that you will never be tied to Mendeley’s tools and interfaces exclusively.

Will Mendeley continue to offer an Open API?

Yes. In fact, we are in the process further opening up our data and extending third-party developers’ capabilities – there will be more and better data to work with, under the Creative Commons CC-BY license, as before.

Will Mendeley continue to support Open Access and Open Science?

Yes. In fact, Elsevier are accelerating their Open Access initiatives as well.

Will Mendeley keep up its Advisor and Community Programmes?

Absolutely! We will remain as dedicated to our community as before – and Mendeley Advisors will receive a free Team Plan upgrade to enable them to share and collaborate with up to 10 colleagues. Consider the amazing opportunity we have: Mendeley now has access to the resources of the world’s leading science, technical, and medical publisher. We want to hear from you how best to leverage these resources to serve your needs.

Will Mendeley keep working with other publishers?

Yes, most definitely. Mendeley will not favour Elsevier content in our search and recommendation engine. Our discovery tools will remain focused on pointing you to the content that’s the most relevant to you, no matter the publisher or the journal. We will keep working with other publishers to ensure that their content is optimally discoverable and compliant with their terms within Mendeley.

What are Elsevier’s long-term plans for Mendeley?

Mendeley will become Elsevier’s central workflow, collaboration, and networking platform, while we continue on our mission of making science more open and collaborative.

Mendelife – Meet David Lee

David Lee

This time around, we have a friendly chat with our VP Finance & Operations David Lee, who’s been with us here at Mendeley for just under a year, before which he worked for the likes of EMI and Betfair.

What made you apply for a job at Mendeley?
Mendeley ticked all the criteria I was looking for in my next challenge: I wanted to help build a company with an innovative/disruptive product with huge potential. Work with real entrepreneurs and have a role with lots of responsibility and impact.

When you started working here, were things like you expected?
I knew there would be a cultural change going from a corporate to a start-up, but I was pleasantly surprised. Mendeley has a fun environment and a genuine team culture, it really feels like we are all in the same boat working together to make something great.

Have things changed in Mendeley since you started working here?
I like to think that I have brought a certain level of organisation and focus to the company. Not too much, but just enough.

What’s the best thing about coming to work at Mendeley?
The ability to get stuff done quickly and have a very real and immediate impact is highly rewarding and refreshing (compared with a larger corp organisation).

Do you have any pets? If not, what would be your ideal one?
My ideal pet would be a Dashchund that shits money.

Who would be invited to your perfect dinner party? (you may include fictional characters and dead people)
I was lucky enough recently to be invited to a dinner party with this years BAFTA winners/nominees. It would be hard to top that.

If you could acquire one extra skill or talent, what would that be?
The ability to fly

What book are you reading at the moment and why?
Steve Jobs biography – it’s taken me months to get through. I am always reading about entrepreneurs, innovation, start-ups and business strategy.

What would you change about the world if you could change one thing?
Suffering

What was the first record you ever bought?
Starship – Nothings going to stop us now.

What music is on your iPod at the moment?
I am mostly on Spotify now. I love using their app platform for music discovery.

Favourite food/drink?
I do love a tasty burger

Favourite film?
Impossible question. But Star Wars would feature somewhere close to the top.

Favourite place in the world?
Tokyo with my wife

Three things you would put in Room 101
Jan, Victor and Paul! ha ha ha ha! Only kidding, those guys rock.

Now for a serious one worthy of the Mendeley vision: If you could give
unlimited funding and resources to one area of research, what would it
be and why

Time travel.