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.

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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.