Congratulations January Advisor of the Month!

Gratulacje to Peter Sobolewski, our January Advisor of the Month! Peter, an Assistant Professor in Biomaterials and Microbiological Technologies at West Pomeranian University of Technology in Poland, is a regular contributor to our Advisor forum, helping other Advisors guide themselves and users they support. Peter comes from a lineage of scientists and thinks Mendeley is like a second brain!



How did you get into your field and what is your research story?
Ever since I was a child I knew I wanted to work in research, since both of my parents were scientists. However, I was always interested in biology, so when it was time for college I chose Biomedical Engineering, which was a hot field at the time. As an undergrad at Duke University, I had a chance to work with Prof. Laura Niklason, a pioneer in vascular tissue engineering. This was extremely exciting and not only confirmed my passion for research, but also ignited a keen interest in the vascular system. Finally, this experience led me to pursue my PhD in bioengineering, at UCSD. I’ve been working in the field of vascular bioengineering ever since.

Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?
This is a hard question, as it really depends. When I’m working in the lab, I find I make most of my progress or breakthroughs after hours, when I’m alone and have the ability to completely focus on the problem at hand. However, I find that a collaborative environment is very important and I very much enjoy brainstorming with colleagues at a white board and, of course, get much help in the lab from students and colleagues as well.
In terms of writing, I like having some music on and big blocks of time, such that I can stream as much text out as possible. Then, I work on editing and adjusting it to a more final form. At this stage, I find it extremely valuable to have colleague in the office to bounce ideas/phrases, etc.

How long have you been on Mendeley and what were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?
I’ve been using Mendeley since December 2010. I previously used EndNote, Reference Manager, and briefly Zotero. I’ve been using reference management software since 1997 or so, thanks to the influence of my parents. Initially, my main goal was managing citations while writing. Mendeley has brought a true paradigm shift for me, thanks to the full text searching of stored documents/abstracts/etc. It’s like a second brain. I conscientiously use the web importer to throw any and all interesting papers or book chapters into my database, knowing I can always find them. Further, the iOS app is also fantastic when on the go, in the lab, or at a conference.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?
I’ve been an unofficial advisor or advocate or whatnot since 2011, because my experience with Mendeley has been so fantastic. It’s easy to get excited about it and want to share, and I’m a naturally chatty person. When I became a faculty member last year, I decided I may as well see about becoming an Advisor. As a teacher, I have access to the “soap box,” so to speak, allowing me to directly expose my students to Mendeley, which I think is invaluable to students working on papers, thesis projects, etc.

What academic/researcher/librarian would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?
This is an impossible question for me as I have a great interest in the history of science and scientific discoveries. I can not choose one person, so I will cheat and offer 2, a preeminent biologist and a preeminent engineer: Charles Darwin, preferably during his voyage, and Nikola Tesla.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?
I’m presently about half-way through The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. This is a long overdue reading of a classic. Next on tap is Steven Pinker’s book Sense of Style. I am also always hunting for inspiration by (re)reading chapters from Alan Lightman’s book The Discoveries, a wonderful collection of anecdotes, history, and original scientific works of some of the most important discoveries of the 20th century.

What is the best part about working in research?
Trying something truly new and the sense of excitement that goes with it. Closely followed by the sense of accomplishment when something really works and you can explain why.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?
I think it’s the trend to marginalize methods and techniques in research publications. It makes it harder and harder to repeat things and also harder to use recent papers for teaching students.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?
It’s not just a reference manager, it’s a full text document searcher–a second brain!

Academic services made easy – Mendeley integrates with Peerwith

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The very nature of research means academics become experts in their fields. But what happens when they need services outside of their field of research, such as translations or artwork for their paper or book? They rely on author services, which are often delivered by other academics; For example, by PhD students that edit papers as a freelance job. Performing these services can not only be an way to earn some extra money, it also allows people to gain experience and grow skills in effective scholarly communication.

But academics and service providers often have difficulties finding each other directly and often depend on middlemen to get the work done. This means that services are more expensive than needed, and that people most of the time have no idea who actually performs the work.

p-eerwithPeerwith wants to change this. Launched in beta in October 2015, the platform brings academics directly in contact with experts to take their academic work to the next level, increasing transparency and making these services more affordable.

Academics don’t like creating another profile on yet another platform, so Peerwith wanted to integrate with a social network that is popular with clients as well as experts. Going for Mendeley integration was the obvious choice. What we have done so far is Mendeley authentication, which means that Mendeley users can sign-in using their Mendeley username and password. In the next few weeks, we hope to allow Mendeley users to import their full Mendeley profile, allowing users to showcase their full profile on Peerwith.

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On Peerwith, clients can directly select the freelancer or supplier, assuring that the work will be done by the right expert with the right background and expertise. On Peerwith you can find experts in many areas, such as for editing and translations, artwork, statistics, to printing theses. Together clients and supplier determine the rates and terms of the project, and payment transactions are secure.

Based in Amsterdam, Peerwith was founded by Joris van Rossum, PhD and Ivo Verbeek, MSc, both with many years of experience in academic publishing, IT and product development.

We are excited with the integration with Mendeley, and warmly invite users to sign up when they need an expert to get their work to the next level, or if they want to offer their services as an expert. Simply sign-in with your Mendeley account!