Meet the Newsflo Team

Freddie and Ben, Newsflo Founders
Freddie (left) and Ben, Newsflo co-founders

At the beginning of this year, Elsevier acquired Newsflo, a unique media monitoring tool to allow academics to get additional “impact” metrics, in additional to the traditional citation metrics, on your Mendeley profiles.

Since then, co-founders Freddie Witherden and Ben Kaube have moved into the Mendeley offices, with all our glory of unlimited coffee and diverse amounts of cereal. Learn more about these two entrepreneurs, who are simultaneously balancing running a start-up while finishing their PhDs.

Freddie Witherden

Freddie studied Physics with Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London between 2008–2012 earning an MSci degree with first class honours. In 2012, he co-founded Newsflo as a means of helping academics track, record, and curate their engagement with the media. Parallel to this, Freddie also started a PhD in computational fluid dynamics, also at Imperial College London, and is hoping to submit his thesis later this year.

How do you describe your role at Newsflo and within the Mendeley Team?

Newsflo will provide Mendeley users with the ability to see the coverage that their own research is generating in the media along with that of their peers. My role is within Newsflo is to ensure that the technology works at the scale of the Mendeley user base.

 What is your favourite part about working for Mendeley?

My favourite part of working for Mendeley is the people. And Beer o’clock!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I’ve heard about this ‘free time’ thing, but am consistently struggling to get my hands on any.


Ben Kaube

Ben co-founded Newsflo while working on his PhD in computational quantum mechanics at Imperial College London. His focus is on plasmonic materials which could eventually be applied to futuristic technologies including superlenses and invisibility cloaks. Ben said he and Freddie founded Newsflo because “We wanted to help researchers tell the public about their research and make sure they received recognition for this societally important service.” He is now a Product Manager for Newsflo.

How do you describe your role at Newsflo and within the Mendeley Team?

As a Newsflo founder I ended up doing a little bit of everything from tweaking our algorithms to getting feedback from researchers at our development partner institutions. Being a small team taking on a big problem it often felt like running from one mini-crisis to another.

Now, as part of the Mendeley team, we can share the work with some very talented people, freeing up bandwidth for improving newsflo and managing the integration with Mendeley. Day to day that means working with everyone from the developers to the community team to integrate and grow Newsflo as smoothly as possible.

 What is your favourite part about working for Mendeley?

I’ve been a longstanding Mendeley user, so I relish the opportunity to help make a great tool even better. The productive chaos of the Mendeley offices feels a lot like what we were used to at Newsflo (just a bit bigger and with more types of cereal available!) so I feel right at home.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

In my spare time I like enjoy running, reading pretentious books and making the most of living in London.

Let’s talk about science – Researchers’ Choice Award for science communication

Albert Einstein once famously claimed that “you don’t really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” Living this ethos, a new breed of fresh-faced, tech-savvy researchers are on a mission to break down the barriers and bring science to the masses.

Communication is forming a bigger part of the role of researchers, and for those in the early stages of their career, it can have a potentially huge influence on the trajectory of their career. Alongside the life-changing scientific research taking place every day, there’s also a lot of impressive communication effort in the background – how else would we know about it? And we think it’s about time these researchers get the recognition they deserve.

We’re looking for early career researchers who are brilliant at communicating their scientific ideas to the public. They must be currently living in the UK, affiliated with a UK university and have begun publishing no earlier than 2012. We want to see evidence that they have gone above and beyond the publication of their research paper, and used any kind of public activity to address misleading information about scientific or medial issues; bring sound evidence to bear in a public or policy debate or helped people to make sense of a rather complex scientific issue.

There are no restrictions on what or how – simply visit the dedicated Mendeley group and enter the researcher’s name, age, institute and the reason for the nomination, along with links to supporting evidence such as a blog, Twitter account or YouTube video.

We then encourage all nominees (and their nominators) to invite peers and colleagues to ‘like’ their nomination post – those posts with the most likes will make the shortlist, which will be put in front of our specially selected judging panel.

So, if you know someone who has the potential to be the next Brian Cox, why not give them the chance of receiving the recognition they deserve…and £1,500! Nominations are open until 30th September 2015, and the winner will be announced at this year’s Awards ceremony at the Royal Society in London on 5th November.

You can read more about the importance of science communication, and if you have any questions on the Awards or the nomination process, feel free to post on the group and we’ll get back to you.

Congratulations to our March Advisor of the Month – Huiqin Gao

Huiqin in Mendeley Tee crop

Many congratulations and thanks to Huiqin Gao, our March Advisor of the Month.

Huiqin obtained her Bachelor’s degree at School of Information Management at Wuhan University (China), and is now a Master’s candidate majoring in Information Science in the same school. As well as studying, Huiqin is also the President of  the Information Literacy Association where she researches on topics related to information resources and scientific literature management.

Her role as an Advisor dovetails nicely with her career in: this week, she is presenting a paper called “An Exploratory Study of Paper Sharing in Mendeley’s Public Groups” at the iConference 2015 in California! (We will publish a summary of the results on our Mendeley Blog after her presentation!)

Beyond her role as a Mendeley Advisor, Huiqin does a lot for her community: through organizing National Search Contests, her and her team evaluate youth Information Literacy. Further, by building and improving Learning Commons at Wuhan University Library, they work on improving Information Literacy for university students.

And that’s not the least of it! You can check out Huiqin’s other activities on her website.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 14.50.01

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?
For my university studies, I chose the major of Information Management & Information Systems because I could also take courses in computer skills and theories of economics. Since those competencies are popular in China, these skills would help me get a good job after graduation. At that time, I wanted to work in a corporation after college.

In my undergraduate year, I was accepted into the Master’s program with entrance exams exempted – this was as a result of my outstanding performance in study and research. As Master’s student that was not burdened by exams, I had a lot of time to do anything I would like to. That was when I met Associate Professor Tingting Jiang, whose research interests are mainly information architecture, information visualization and information seeking. Since then, I have been in her research team, and learnt a lot from her on research habits, insights, and how to live my own happy life as a woman.

Due to Prof. Jiang’s personality and research topics attract me so much; I have been able to develop my interests in related sub-fields. I found a topic that I can do with my skills, and thus I conducted my study comparing more than 50 scientific managing and sharing tools including EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero, etc. in 2012. Then in 2014, I started to focus on Mendeley and investigated the website, virtual communities and information resources.

Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?
My current favorite place is the lab of Prof. Jiang because they have a new air conditioning system and strong Wi-Fi – I feel relaxed and can work efficiently. I like the environment with convenient facilitations including fresh air with pleasant temperature, and a keyboard that I can type comfortably.

How long have you been on Mendeley and what were you using prior to Mendeley? How does Mendeley influence your research?
I have used Mendeley since January 2012 until now (March 2015) – 3 years and 2 months. Before using Mendeley the desktop software, I used EndNote to manage my local reading materials; and before using Mendeley the website, I used Academia to look for papers and researchers in my field.

When I was doing my Bachelor’s dissertation research, I felt a lack of guidance because my supervisor was too busy to advise me on details. Luckily, I received help from fellow researchers via Mendeley: Matti Stöhr from Jahresberichte für deutsche Geschichte (BBAW), Frank Hellwig from Elsevier, Jon Jablonski from University of California, Santa Barbara, and Michael Leuschner from Swets. I sent messages to them asking questions about topics that I found confusing, and they were friendly in their replies and gave suggestions for my research.

I also like to look for valuable papers on Mendeley when I start to study a new topic. By using Mendeley, I can judge from the number of readers of a paper and recognize which papers I should read first. This has helped me to locate the core resources of particular topics.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?
I read Wei Jeng’s Mendeley profile and noticed the beautiful badge of “Mendeley Advisor.” Then, when I clicked on it, I jumped to an introduction page of the Advisor program. For the first time, I felt like I could do something for an influential tool. So I submitted my application to become an Advisor candidate, and within a week, I received a warm reply informing me that I had been approved as a Mendeley Advisor. The Mendeley employees that sent me emails are all very friendly. I like them.

What academic/researcher/librarian would you like to work with or meet – dead or alive?
Prof. Dr. Christophe Stadtfeld from ETH Zurich. He is handsome and smart, and I like his research on social network dynamics.Huiqin with guitar

What book are you reading at the moment and why?
Smart Cities – Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia because I received an invitation for PhD program enrollment from Vrije University in Amsterdam, in the field of “big data and smart city technologies,” and I would like to learn more about the topic before I start.

What is the best part about working in research?
1) Finding out answers to questions, questions asked by myself or other people
2) Writing articles that are like a work of art, with strict logic and beautiful format
3) Other people being interested in what I’ve been doing

And the worst/most challenging?
Finding solutions that are based on knowledge/tools that are unfamiliar to me. This means I have to learn new theories or skills in a very short time, and do so efficiently. Then I have to complete tasks under stress – that is challenging.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?
How Mendeley helps save time or improves efficiency in research, and that Mendeley is easy to use. Particularly in China, some users care about support for the Chinese language.

Mendeley for Android – Launching in June!


It’s finally happening.  This June (three short months from now) we will be launching the first version of Mendeley for Android! We’ve done everything we can to ensure that we’ve built an app that sets a new standard for quality in the world of Android reference management apps.


  • Read, highlight & annotate PDFs from anywhere
  • Sync annotations & documents across all your devices
  • Browse your Mendeley library and groups online or offline
  • Search your library for keywords in the Title, Authors, Publication or Abstract
  • Save PDFs to your Mendeley library from other apps or your web browser
  • Edit document details (Title, Authors, Publication details, etc…)
  • Download or remove PDFs on demand, to easily manage device storage space
  • All features are available on your Tablet or Phone
  • Fully compatible with Android Lollipop (supports Jellybean 4.1.2 and above)
  • Plus it’s FREE!

Design & Quality

When we set out over a year ago to create this Android app, our goal was to create an app that felt fully at home on your Android device, but was consistent enough with our iOS app to enable us to develop features quickly and easily across both platforms.  Like our other apps, we aimed for a clean, professional feeling design that fades into the background and lets you focus on the content as you work or study.


We’ll be busy finishing up and testing the final bits and pieces over the next couple of months, with the help of our 40 amazing beta testers.  Here’s what some of them have been saying:

 “Finally a free, robust, clean, simple and efficient application, the piece that was lacking in the reference management family. It takes academic productivity to another level.”

photoJorge Sinval
Researcher / Double PhD Student

“What makes having Mendeley on Android so significant for me, is that for the first time since I started my career I don’t have to print out papers to be able to read them. Reading them on a tablet works great, especially now that we can also highlight text.”

photo-1Dr. Jan Aerts
Assistant Professor

We know waiting is hard, but we can’t wait to get it into your hands and hear what you think.  Remember, this is only the beginning.  We have a bunch of great mobile improvements planned for later in the year on both iOS and Android.

Watch for the release announcement in June here on the blog, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus.

Watch Buzz Aldrin's upcoming talk, courtesy of Mendeley

Buzz Aldrin Login1.2

Mendeley is really excited to be sponsoring another space-themed event at the Cambridge Union Society.

Following last month’s debate, which discussed whether space exploration was worth the cost, this Saturday (March 14th) we are proudly sponsoring a talk by the second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin! The event will start at 13:00 GMT and will include a Q&A with the famous moonwalker.

We’d like to offer the Mendeley community the opportunity to “attend” this wonderful occasion by watching the live stream of the event. Simply login into the Cambridge Union Society streaming service with the following details:

Username: Mendeley
Password: livestream

Buzz Aldrin Login

For those of you in or near the Cambridge area, here is the Facebook event page for details and directions to the venue.


iOS Update – iPhone 6 Plus & more

Mendeley iOS Update available now

Mendeley for iOS has just been updated featuring a flexible interface that can adapt to any iPhone or iPad size and screen orientation, allowing you to fully utilise the beautiful 5.5 inch screen of the iPhone 6 Plus.

All iOS users benefit from this upgrade though. iPhones of any type can now use the entire application in landscape mode. Icons and text weights have been given a bit of polish to make the app feel cleaner, and more consistent with the upcoming Mendeley for Android.

Mendeley for iOS in Landscape mode

The PDF reader has had numerous bug fixes and performance improvements, laying the foundation for more reading and annotation improvements that we will be sharing with you throughout the year.

We’ve fixed a few things that had unfortunately broken in the previous release, including sync options, sort orders, and reading positions not being remembered when they should, as well as common crashes and sync errors.

Mendeley 2.5 for iOS is available now on the app store.

If you have any problems, please send a request to our helpful support team at If you like what we’re doing, leave us a review on the app store, or use the hashtag #Mendeley on Twitter. (it’s like our bat signal).

Release notes

  • Full iPhone 6+ support
  • Landscape mode now available on iPhone
  • Improved icons and font weights across the app
  • Improved PDF reading experience & fullscreen mode
  • ‘Define’ words now works offline and uses iOS dictionaries
  • Profile images show in annotations and link to the user’s Mendeley profile
  • Logging out and in as the same user no longer requires a full library re-sync
  • “Reset database” button has been added to settings, which forces a full re-sync of the library, which should resolve most common sync errors.
  • Adding a URL to a document works again
  • Sync options remember their settings again
  • Fixed multiple crashes on sync and when reading
  • And finally, the always informative ‘Misc. bugfixes’

Avoiding Research Pitfalls: Kristen Marhaver Talks@Mendeley

Kristen 1

Last week we welcomed Dr Kristen Marhaver to Talks@Mendeley. She travelled all the way from the Carmabi Research Institute in Curacao – one of the oldest research centres in the Caribbean where she studies coral reefs – to discuss how researchers can communicate their work more effectively, and what pitfalls they are likely to encounter along the way.

She started off by explaining that her keen interest in Science Communication (and Digital Science in particular) came from a passion for the ocean, her concern over its collapse, and a wish to make a positive contribution towards conservation.

She expanded on the theme of her recent Wired Article, talking about the problems that come from treating scientific research as a disposable commodity rather than a durable good, to be built incrementally over time.

Science News

“We have this situation where a paper that took 5 years to produce, which addresses 500 years of biology, gets 3 days of press attention. My question is, what happens in day 4? The media noise simply doesn’t match the severity of the problem.”

The main problem, she believes, stems from the fact that science is not the news, but gets treated as such. And by approaching it as an ephemeral commodity, we’re doing a huge disservice to the research community and society in general.

“Science News shouldn’t be something that ages. It shouldn’t be taboo to talk about science that was published last week, that is just absurd.”

She also pointed out that Twitter is becoming a useful aggregator of science news:

“We’ve reached a sort of speed limit on Twitter in we can’t produce enough news for a new tweet every five seconds, but that then creates a space for citizens to float things they believe are important back up to the surface, hence the #InCaseYouMissedIt phenomenon”

Bad Translation

Kristen also highlighted the problems around diluting or sensationalising scientific messages in order to make it more palatable or newsworthy. Since researchers don’t usually get to go on book tours or press tours to talk about their message, there is often a real danger of their work getting irrevocably misinterpreted along the way.

“The main issue here is that scientific research is so specialized that there will be very few people in the world, apart from the original researcher, who are qualified to interpret and critically analyse that output, and to translate it to a broader audience.”

There is, however, hope in the fact that we’re increasingly seeing the Internet acting as a platform for expert translators of this content.

“You now have things like Altmetrics aggregating all the chatter around scientific research. When I first started talking about this a few years ago, there was really no way for the average citizen to look at a piece of research and figure out what gravitas it had, and what its real importance was.”

However, she believes that altmetrics should not merely focus solely on counting mentions and other social interactions, but should prioritise aggregated content, curating expert opinions in such as way as to make research clearer and more accessible to the average person. At the moment, Altmetrics is something that is on the radar of the scientific community, but not exactly common knowledge to the general public. And that, says Marhaver, is something that really needs to change.

“Every paper should come with a lay summary. This kind of tool is something that everybody should know about, and should be on every search search bar: Tell me more about this research in a language that makes sense to me

That is actually something that chimes with some recent initiative by Mendeley and Elsevier, like the recently launched STM Digest , which aims to provide lay translations of scientific papers produced by experts with in-depth knowledge of the subject.

OA Fundamentalism

“It’s hard for conservationists to pick their battles wisely, but sometimes you have to let small things go to win the bigger fights.”

Kristen draws parallels here with the Open Access debate, saying there are papers that people simply need to have access to, and that some content needs OA more urgently than others. This is something that scientists have actually started to address by self-sorting based on OA importance, publishing papers with broader societal impact into Open Access journals and more specialized content in others. She recognises that Elsevier initiatives such as Atlas are a good start, but wants them to go further

“My dream is that all the big publishing houses took a small percentage of the most important papers in areas such as food security and conservation, things that they recognised that the public really needed to know about, and just opened those up?”

Talking to Ourselves

“We used to be in the proverbial scientific Ivory Tower talking to ourselves and it was considered shameful and even corrupting for scientists to mingle with the common folk”

We like to think that things have moved on since then because these conversations now happens on the Internet, but the danger is they don’t actually manage to reach the general public.

“You can’t simply rely on creating social networks around scientific content because content is too rare, if your content is PDFs, you don’t have new ones to add very often, unlike Twitter and Facebook. We also need to ask ourselves whether we’re creating great things with our knowledge, or are we just making more click bait?”


Before going on to answer questions from the Mendeley team, Kristen finished on a positive note:

“Science Communication is booming, and baby corals are growing.”

And that just has to be a good thing.