Congratulations and thank you to Polly Compston!
We first met Polly in January when she was working to get her organization started on Mendeley. We loved her enthusiasm and encouraged her to apply to be a Mendeley Advisor.
Since then, Polly has embraced literally every aspect of the Advisor Program — writing guest blog posts, participating in beta testing, presenting Mendeley to her colleagues, and meeting with us for User Testing.
Polly is a research advisor for the Brooke, which is an NGO that aims to improve the lives of working donkeys, horses, and mules in developing countries. Suitable for a researcher who did her studies in veterinary school and spent a period of time volunteering overseas while doing a three-year residency in clinical research, earning her MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health.
Polly says working at the Brooke is a “dream job – my interest in international animal health began during my period of veterinary work abroad and this is the perfect fit of this interest and my skills as a researcher. I work alongside the vets in our country programmes to increase their research capacity and provide support throughout any research activities that they are working on.”
How long have you been on Mendeley?
About 6 months – just a newbie!
What were you using prior to Mendeley?
How does Mendeley influence your research?
It makes it much easier to share information with our overseas colleagues – we can discuss research papers over time zones and if internet connections are unreliable. It allows us to be much more collaborative as an organisation
Why did you decide to become an Advisor?
It seemed the logical decision – a central part of my role is to coordinate research resources throughout the organisation, and as Mendeley is relatively new within the Brooke we needed to develop a strategy to train everyone up.
How have you been spreading the word about Mendeley?
I am just off to Ethiopia to start the role out to our international colleagues – we are holding a workshop for the senior veterinary staff. 22 vets from 8 countries will be in attendance and I will be running an introductory session to Mendeley and we’ll discuss the best ways to use it.
What book are you reading at the moment and why?
“In Ethiopia with a Mule” by Dervla Murphy – because of my upcoming work trip to Ethiopia and the fact that it will be followed by some personal R&R that includes trekking in the mountains with a mule!
Any fun fact people might be surprised to learn about you?
– I have a three-legged cat
– I wore a builder’s hard hat as a teenager
– There are no high heels too high for me
What is the best part about being a researcher?
It’s exciting generating new information and seeing it being put into practice. One of the favourite things about my job is see other people develop their research skills – one of my favourite metaphors is that each piece of research is a brick in the wall and the researchers are the mortar that hold it together – the more people the bigger the wall can be and the better the researchers the stronger that mortar is.
And the worst?
Sometimes things take a long time. The difference in timescales between being a vet in practice, where the daily to do list is completed every day and research, which occurs over much longer periods makes it hard sometimes to feel as though you are being productive
What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?
Honestly – how nice the people who work there are! I think lots of people know what a useful tool it is for researchers but I have been so impressed by the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff in the London office. (Editor’s note: we’re blushing, Polly!)