Congratulations and thank you to Advisor Sofia Blazevik! Sofia is a PhD at the Department of Animal Physiology in Zagreb, Croatia. Sofia joined the Mendeley Advisors exactly two years ago and since then has hosted a “Blaze” of seminars and workshops on Mendeley (forgive the pun!)
Sophia works on animal models of neurobiological disorders and also on bioethics. “I enjoy this field of research and most of all I enjoy sharing this with my students,” she said. “I love transferring knowledge, empowering people with it.”
What is the one thing she’d like people to know about Mendeley?
“Mendeley lets you concentrate on what research really is about: discovering more new phenomena while wasting the least time writing about it.”
Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?
I do my best research working with a group of people, interchanging ideas, big open spaces suit me best. When I have to write a paper I have to isolate completely, but the rest of the time I work best with a team.
How long have you been on Mendeley and what were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?
I have been on Mendeley for 7 years already! I had tested Endnote and Zotero prior to Mendeley but for a very short time. I was at the beginning of my research career and wanted to make things easier. Why would I do the work a program on my computer could do for me, and do it better?! I was decided to find the appropriate program that would take the hours out of reference writing. After trying other programs, I loved the way Mendeley was so user friendly and easy to use, and at the same time adaptable and flexible (go ahead write your own .csl file!).
As time goes by I like it more and more, because it keeps getting better and better. The students at my last workshop smiled at my enthusiasm at the begging: “you are in love with Mendeley” they said, and I answered “I am and at the end of the workshop you will be too”, when they started inserting the inline citations and creating the reference lists they sighed “Now, I am in love too!”
Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?
I really enjoy teaching, and I find it very fulfilling giving people the tools to make their work easier. I always say that if there were a working position called “the problem solver,” I would love to have it. Mendeley is a research problem solver. Being an Advisor allowed me to spread the word, get it to as many people as I can, make people’s research life easier, more enjoyable.
To date I have mostly given workshops to small groups (I prefer smaller groups). I do an introduction in which I give an overview of the whole program and then we get to work step by step, we literally go through every option on the program. I ask everyone to bring their own devices, the ones they will be using later. We go from zero to master, so that the participant goes home with his/her own Mendeley library started. This way I know that they will use it and I often get emails soon after with questions on troubleshooting.
What academic/researcher/librarian would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?
I would love to meet two dead researchers: Jérôme Lejeune, because he was an honest researcher putting people first; and Santiago Ramón y Cajal, his histological work was amazing! I would love to learn from him how to approach a scientific problem. And two that are alive: Michael Gazzaniga and Vilayanur S. Ramachandran both are neuroscientist that have fun learning about the processes of the brain, just watching them work would be a great school for me.
What book are you reading at the moment and why?
I am reading two books right now, “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” by Oliver Sacks, an interesting account on several psychiatric disorders described in a way everyone can understand. I am reading it because it gives me new insights into how the brain works, and it’s a classic for neuroscience researchers. And “Amoris Laetitia” by Pope Francis because it gives practical lessons on how to love everyone around us and live a more fulfilling life.
What is the best part about working in research?
The best part of working in research is the never ending ability to wonder. Discovering the beauty of things and the logical answer to why a phenomenon occurs, which was not known before and makes complete sense, that “aha” moment is incredible!
And the most challenging part about working in research?
I would say that the most challenging part of working in research today is getting the whole picture. At least in the field of biology, we go very deep on a specific receptor or molecule but we sometimes forget that it is only one bit of an enormous picture. It takes a lot of effort to see the whole picture, it is easier to focus just on a picometer of it but then it does not reflect the whole reality. I must admit it is sometimes easy to feel demoralized when there are so many articles on the same field of research and each only adds just a little of knowledge…
*Answers edited for length and clarity