Congratulations August Advisor of the Month – Ruth Harrison

2015-08-28 12 08 41_resizedCongratulations to our August Advisor of the Month: Ruth Harrison, who is the Head of the Scholarly Communications Management team at Imperial College London, meaning that she leads the development researcher and education support services and activities provided by the Library Services, particularly those related to open access, research data management and information literacy teaching, including study skills support.

Ruth studied Politics and History at University of Newcastle upon Tyne and then completed her Masters in Information Services Management while working as a library assistant at Imperial College London. Several jobs later, she is still based in the Library Services department at Imperial, and is now Head of Scholarly Communications Management, working primarily to enable researchers and students to communicate and disseminate their work, whether they are an undergraduate or senior member of academic staff.

We at Mendeley are very thankful to Ruth, as she has been an avid and enthusiastic usability tester for our development team and is often in the Mendeley office trying out our new ideas, giving us honest and constructive feedback!

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?
I don’t have a research field, although I briefly dabbled with the idea of doing a PhD in education a few years ago. If I did, I think now it might be how the impact of research can be communicated…

Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you? 
I work in an open plan office, which suits me most of the time, despite being an introvert – I don’t like complete silence and it’s good to have work colleagues around. That said, I do crave a quieter space occasionally so hide when I can!

How long have you been on Mendeley?
I started using Mendeley very soon after it was launched after meeting Jan and Victor at an event for librarians; I was intrigued to know what researchers would want to use and would be using.

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How does Mendeley influence your research?
The nature of my job is that I try to check out as many researcher orientated tools as possible.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?
It seemed a good way of being recognised for all the consultation and advice I provided in the early days, and that I hope I continue to provide. Other colleagues in our Library are now more involved in providing information to our researchers on a daily basis about Mendeley.

What academic/researcher/librarian would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?
I have never thought about that! Ada Lovelace or any of the early female scientists and researchers. We need more now.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 12.23.20What book are you reading at the moment and why?
David Crystal’s ‘The story of English in 100 words’ – because I love language!

What is the best part about working in research?
Finding things out – that’s why working in the information profession appealed.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?
If I were a researcher, I’d probably say the admin. Explaining policies is definitely a current challenge for those of us in research support.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?
That it was developed for researchers by researchers!

New Horizons: Innovation, Collaboration and Accomplishment in Science and Technology

During our recent trip to Washinton DC this July, we held an event at the Wilson Center to discuss topics relevant to NASA’s New Horizons mission, specifically looking at Innovation, Collaboration and Accomplishment in Science and Technology.

Our event was attended by more that 100 people to whom we presented a series of lightning talks from Mendeley and NASA. These videos are now available to watch on our YouTube Channel along with a summary video of our DC adventure.

The talks were kicked off by Jan Reichelt (Co-founder and CEO, Mendeley) who gave us a brief welcome and introduction, which was followed by Paul Tavner’s (Educational Resources Manager, Mendeley), introduction to the report that he produced, ‘New Horizons: From Research Paper to Pluto’.

Beth Beck (NASA Open Innovation Program Manager, HQ Office of Chief Information Officer) gave a fascinating presentation on Space Apps, as well as providing insight into the gender gap in the hacking/data science culture as well as ways in which NASA is engaging with citizens and enabling them to use NASA data.

We then heard from our Director of Scholarly Communications, William Gunn, who talked about the importance of open science, as well as why it matters to both NASA and Mendeley.

Callum Anderson (Development Manager, Mendeley), covered the topic of storing and using data and the importance of sharing data and making it available via API, which is something that Mendeley do. Callum gave some interesting examples of such data sharing.

Rob Knight (Software Engineer, Mendeley), introduced the topic of “hacking”, and explained why hacking is important, especially for companies like Mendeley. Rob then introduced the winners of our Space Hacks,  George Kartvelishvili and Richard Lynne, as well as the team of Policonnect. George demoed his Woket Launch System and simulated the New Horizon’s mission, while Richard showed us how he has been detecting Galactic Centres using Spark’s k-means clustering algorithms. We next hear form Dan Morgan Russell of PoliConnect, which connects lawmakers to policy experts in an anonymous way to allow open and honest communication.

Lastly, Robbertjan Kalff (Social Project Manager, Mendeley) talked about tracking the impact of scientific publishing and gave us some insight on the societal impact of that.

Afterwards, we had a chance to meet some of the audience and our Advisor community at our networking event at the Laughing Man Tavern.

Labfolder and Mendeley integration – from a new API to a new App

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With the update of the Mendeley API last September, it was about time to give the Labfolder Mendeley Extension a polish as well.

Labfolder is an online tool where laboratory scientists can plan, document, and evaluate their experiments all in one place, allowing them to focus on the tasks they enjoy the most: making discoveries, developing new hypotheses and finding new applications. Just like Mendeley, Labfolder is available online, as well as on your Android or iOS devices.

Laboratory work and scientific literature go hand-in-hand, and so it was a no-brainer for us to integrate Mendeley as one of the first Labfolder extensions, allowing researchers to read, integrate and cite their scientific literature, whilst planning and conducting experiments. Additionally, laboratory notes and experiment details can also be uploaded to Mendeley directly, allowing researchers to manage and share experimental notes within the literature database. The API integration with Mendeley therefore closing the gap between laboratory and literature.

To see how the Mendeley integration works, watch this video:

When updating the integration of Mendeley in Labfolder, the new Mendeley API provided us with new functionality that permitted significant improvements:

Firstly, the API update allowed faster loading of the library. In the previous versions of the API, an identifier had to be retrieved for every document in the library. With this identifier, the metadata (author, title, year of publication etc.) would be retrieved for every single document. With the new API, it is possible to retrieve the entire library with one API call, allowing a faster access to all documents, even when the Mendeley library is quite large.

Additionally, the new API allows the display of file names of imported literature. When importing PDF files, including scientific literature from Mendeley into Labfolder, the previous version of the API did not support a handover of the name of the original file. With the new API, the file name of the original file is automatically imported as well, making the management of literature content within Labfolder a lot easier.

We are happy that, together with Mendeley, we can bring these improvements to help researchers with their work. Future improvements will, however, not only depend on technical innovations, but also from the input of you, the users! In order to help us to further improve, please do the Labfolder team at and tell us how you like the new Mendeley App – and what we can do to make it even better and your life’s even easier.

Mendeley @ WWDC 2015

Mendeley is growing and wants to be on the edge of innovation, to better serve our users. It is therefore essential for us to be present where the technological (r)evolutions happen. So we send our developers to some of the biggest IT conferences around the world where they can learn about the latest development trends, find inspiration and speak with other developers.

Most recently we sent Stefano, (one of our developers from the Mobile Team) to the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, and this is the basis for today’s guest blog post.

From the 8th – 12th June 2015, I went to the Apple WWDC at the Moscone Center in San Francisco – this is where all development innovations on Apple platforms take place, and developers meet to talk about these latest products.

Aside from the mainstream keynote presentation, where Apple showcased the next major versions of its operating systems (OS X El Capitan, iOS 9, watch OS 2) and the new service Apple Music, the WWDC is the main opportunity for an Apple platform developer to learn new technologies in advance, consolidate the knowledge as well as to have the opportunity of speaking with Apple Engineers and asking them whatever questions.

The conference in fact was composed by three different types of training:
– Sessions where Apple engineers talk about new features and best practices.
– Labs offer a unique opportunity to spend time in a one-to-one discussion with an Apple engineer.
– Lunch sessions are less technical and more oriented on inspirational topics.

The main benefit of all these training sessions is to speed up the development of new features and to improve the integration between Apps and the Apple ecosystem, especially with the next generation of operating systems.

With more than 5000 developers and 1000 Apple engineers arriving in the city from all over the world, there were also plenty of side events during the conference days in San Francisco including some hosted by other companies based nearby. These provided additional training opportunities, but also a chance to catch up with other developers and speak face-to-face with some of our business partners who develop technologies that we use to create and test the iOS app. For instance I had an interesting chat with the developers of the PDF library we use in Mendeley iOS and I had the opportunity of clarify some doubts with the makers of the crash report tool we currently use to improve our products. I also visited the HQ of a potential partner where I got an overview of their products.

The time spent outside the conference place was as useful as the time spent inside for another reason: notorious bloggers of the Apple world and well known indie developers organised their own events, and so I had the opportunity of networking and partaking in technical discussions with people I that have previously only read and communicated with from in front of a screen.

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Coming out of this conference, we have already started to work on some of the hints  from the Apple engineers to improve some weaknesses of the Mendeley iOS App, for instance the internal search it’s faster and more reliable in version 2.7 just released, and we will improve the general stability and security of our mobile product. We will also be working on supporting multitasking on iPad in iOS 9 and adding new ways to import and open PDFs in our App.

We have also started to think about how to interact with the new intelligent search and proactive assistant made available from Apple that will permit searching documents in the user library directly from the iOS search… And maybe in the future ask Siri to lookup a paper for you within Mendeley!

Mendeley Celebrate New Horizons' Pluto Flyby in Washington D.C.

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In June we announced that NASA’s Science Program Manager Adriana Ocampo had extended a very special invite for the Mendeley team to be at NASA HQ to witness the Pluto New Horizons Encounter! Naturally we were excited about this incredible opportunity… so much so that we focused four of our internal hack-days on space-themed hacks, and the hackers that received the most votes won places on the trip across the ocean (we’ll tell you all about the hacks in an upcoming blog post).

So after lots of planning and preparation, off we flew to Washington DC with 20 space enthusiasts from the Mendeley, Elsevier and Newsflo team…


Upon arrival in D.C. the team was almost too excited to sleep in anticipation of the early rise for the July 14th New Horizon’s closest approach to Pluto at NASA HQ scheduled for 7.49 am (EST)!

We were struck with the real gravity of what was happening – The New Horizons mission, to the Dwarf Planet Pluto, is a pioneering feat of astronomical research that was launched back in January 2006, and this would be the first time ever that we’d be able to see properly see Pluto – and we were there to witness the final arrival at this far distant world.

“We don’t know exactly what we’ll see, but we know from decades of experience in first-time exploration of new planets that we will be very surprised” – Ralph McNutt, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL).

We waited patiently in the auditorium until the countdown began… 10… 9… 8… after 9.5 years, a total of 3463 days of traveling up to 47,000 mph for more than 3 billion miles, New Horizons was finally making it’s Pluto Flyby… 3… 2… 1… 0!!!!

After the excitement died down, we were lucky to be joined by two NASA staff – Planetary Geologist Sarah Noble and Planetary Science Division Program Officer Christina Richey. These two knowledgeable Women in STEM talked to us about the mission, answering all of our questions about New Horizons and Pluto.

During the event, we were joined in the auditorium by a class of Colombian school children who were learning about planetary science. Our Spanish speaking Software Engineer, Carles Pina, was subsequently involved in some spontaneous outreach and took the time to talk to the school group about programming and why it’s a useful skill – inspiring the next generation of Software Engineers!

We also had the privilege of interviewing Beth Beck, NASA’s Open Innovation Program Manager, about New Horizons as well as issues and solutions for women in data. You can watch the video here.


After lunch in the botanical gardens, we had the opportunity to take a guided tour of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Our guide, U.S. Air Force veteran Vince, gave us a wonderfully educational guide, taking us on a journey from the first human flight attempts through the advancements in aviation, all the way to exploring the planets and human space travel.

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On Wednesday July 15th, we hosted some Mendeley events to coincide with the publication of our report “New Horizons: From research papers to Pluto“, a document examining the role of academic publishing in launching and learning from deep space missions – which is freely available to download.

In the afternoon at the Wilson Center, our NASA’s New Horizons: Innovation, Collaboration and Accomplishment in Science and Technology event was attended by more that 100 people. Here, we presented a series of lightning talks from Paul Tavner (Educational Resources Manager, Mendeley), Jan Reichelt (Co-founder and CEO, Mendeley), Beth Beck (NASA Open Innovation Program Manager, HQ Office of Chief Information Officer), William Gunn (Director of Scholarly Communications, Mendeley), Callum Anderson (Development Manager, Mendeley), Rob Knight (Software Engineer, Mendeley), Robbertjan Kalff (Social Project Manager, Mendeley), our two space hack winners George Kartvelishvili and Richard Lynne, as well as the team of Policonnect. We will be sharing the video footage of these talks with you soon on our YouTube channel! In the mean time, check out our summary video here.

Laughing Man

In the evening, we held a networking meet-up at the Laughing Man Tavern. This event gave us a chance to meet some of our dedicated Mendeley Advisors, to discuss New Horizons, research and Mendeley. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet so many.

Finally, with an invigorated enthusiasm for space science, our NASA badges, and an awesome story to tell… we packed our bags and flew back to Europe.


iOS 2.7 – It's all about search


We’ve been working on overhauling our search features in Mendeley for iOS for the last couple of month. With Mendeley 2.7 now available on the app store, you can get your hands on these improvements today! Here’s a rundown of what’s new:

Filter by tag

We’ve integrated tag filtering into the search interface.

  1. Start typing a search term into the search box.
  2. If that term matches the name of a tag, the matching tag will display as a suggestion above the search results
  3. Tap the suggested tag, and you’ll see a list of all documents with that tag

This works in folders or groups, and the filter will only show documents from the folder you’re in (and it’s subfolders) or the group you are in, just like regular search results.  Searching from the main screen searches “All documents”.  We are planning to add other suggested filters into this in the future, such as authors or publications.

Recent searches

Once you’ve searched a couple of times, you may notice that when you select the search box, it will display your last 4 recent search terms, or recent tag filters.  These are only saved on your device, so they’ll be cleared if you reset your database or switch to a new device.  Recent searches are only available on iOS 8 and above.

Search indexing improvements

In addition to the above, we also put a lot of effort into making the search indexing quicker and more efficient.  Previously, users with medium or large libraries may have noticed that search did not return any results after doing a first sync, or if you were unable to sync successfully for some reason.

We’ve completely overhauled the way we handle search (with some great tips from Apple at WWDC this year), and users that previously had these problems should find the search much better to use.

Let us know what you think!

Have a play with the new version, and leave us a rating or a review on the App store.  We love to hear what people think of the App, and it really does help spread the word about Mendeley.

You can look forward to more updates in the near future, thanks!