Congratulations April Advisor of the Month!

Sofia BlazevicCongratulations 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!).Kulturni centar Harmica

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?IMG_5394
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?
Workshop_Zagreb_20160419_2The 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

churchill

Why do we need Energy Storage in Buildings?

aKdV8MM-Pint Of Science 2016 begins tonight (23/05)! To get you excited Andreas Georgakarakos (@andrewGRK) kindly previewed his forthcoming talk “Why do we need Energy Storage in Buildings?” at The Doctor’s Orders, Sheffield on the 24/05. Check out our other preview pieces too!

Andreas is a Mechanical & Environmental Engineer, PhD Researcher at Energy Storage CDT, University of Sheffield.

The Energy Trilemma (security of supply, low-carbon production and affordability) is driving a trend toward electrification of the UK energy market. The increasing proportion of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) will result in stochastic supply whilst electrification of demand requires a more certain supply. Hence supply is less assured but growth of demand requires a greater level of assurance. The role of the Smart Grid is therefore to balance these competing requirements. Systems theory suggests that by aligning all sub-systems to common goals the overall system gains.

Therefore, Smart Grids need to interact with edge systems such as buildings. Non-domestic buildings have great potential to be utilised by the Smart Grid in managing energy demand. The functional characteristics of a building designed to work as a sub-system within a wider smart grid to achieve the overall goal of addressing the energy trilemma are:

  • The extent that the building can change its energy demand following a request;
  • How the extent varies as a function of the notification period;
  • How this varies with the external climate and internal loads.

There are expected to be financial incentives for buildings to respond to Smart Grid events over different time periods. This will necessitate the design of buildings that are financially optimised to work cooperatively within a Smart Grid ecosystem. Buildings will benefit from the ability to modify their energy use in response to Smart Grid events. It is anticipated that a Smart Grid Optimised Building (SGOB) will have particular characteristics relating to its energy storage (electrical and thermal) differs significantly from low carbon or low energy buildings.

RESThe definitions of the capability of buildings to alter their demand in line with the wider Smart Grid goals would allow Buildings to enter the energy market as a storage vector. Furthermore, the approach to quantifying SGOB in light of dynamic pricing should increase the clarity surrounding the role of energy storage technologies through development of the understanding of their economic value in relation to the temporal aspect of energy storage to the function and goals of Smart Grids.

This project will explore the hypothesis that the storage characteristics of buildings will play a crucial role in ensuring that they function as an effective sub-system a Smart Grid environment. It will seek to define at what scale, using what technology and distributed in what manner should storage be located in buildings and how is this influenced by the evolutionary state of the wider smart grid.

Currently, there are no universally accepted definitions for the different classifications of buildings. For example, while there is an increasing literature concerning smart buildings, there is no justified definition of what a smart building. Most approaches support that smart buildings integrate intelligence, enterprise, control and materials & construction as an entire building system, with adaptability, not reactivity, in order to meet the drivers for building progression: energy and efficiency, longevity and comfort”. Similarly, a proper definition for SGOBs has yet to be established.

Tickets for Pint Of Science talks are selling fast, so get over to through their official website to grab some.

Mendeley is extremely excited to be partnering with Pint of Science for the second year running! This year, we are sponsoring “Atoms to Galaxies” events across the UK, and Mendeley API & Mendeley Data are co-sponsoring “Tech Me Out” events. Last year was a massive success, and we feel passionate about the Pint of Science mission to bring research to the public, and give a chance for academics to present their work. We hope to help grow the event so more people can hear about the vast and amazing research happening in our galaxy — and beyond.

T8XRobot_MAR_cut

Pint of Spiders… With Robots

One week away until we lift our glasses to science!

vcXeot7HTo continue our series of Pint Of Science 2016 previews we spoke to Michelle Reeve (@michelleareeve) about her forthcoming talk “Pint of Spiders… with robots” at The Rugby Tavern, London on the 23/05. Although it might initially sound like the stuff of nightmares it is in fact extremely important research and we cannot wait to hear the whole talk next week!

Michelle was born and bred on the east coast of Norfolk, UK, and now lives in London after moving there to study for her undergraduate degree: BSc BioVeterinary Sciences at the Royal Veterinary College.

When we think of robots, often the first image to spring to mind is that of a humanoid. Perhaps made of metal, slightly clunky but able to move around more or less like a human. The first robots were indeed like this, and this stereotype has been emphasised by numerous film and literature depictions of robots both before and since. As technology has advanced, robots have become sleeker, more efficient, more specialist, and much more varied.

One of the ways in which we have improved legged robots is by turning to nature. Animals can move elegantly and efficiently over obstacles and difficult terrain with ease. They have benefitted from millions of years of evolution, so that today, they are brilliantly well-adapted to moving around within their environments. Increasingly, research teams comprised of roboticists, engineers and biologists come together, with the dual goal of learning how a particular animal or group of animals move, and using this knowledge to create an efficient, ‘bioinspired’ robot.

Despite this, our legged robots are still far from perfect. They are still are often unsteady, clumsy and energy-hungry. If they are damaged, a human needs to fix them. Depending on the purpose of the robot, this can be okay; if a research robot gets broken and needs a quick fix, nobody minds But if the robot is designed to enter dangerous places, you really don’t want to be sending an engineer in with it.

WolfSpiderLego_MARAnd this is where my research comes in. I’m the biologist in this interdisciplinary team, and I work on spider movement. Why spiders? Well, they can do exactly what we’d like our robots to do: when they damage themselves, they can just carry on. Spiders can actually self-amputate their legs, through a natural defence process known as autotomy. This can happen as a result of fighting during mating, being attacked by a predator, or even getting stuck in a problematic moult. Juveniles can often grow the leg back during their next moult cycle, but adults just have to live with it. And they cope remarkably well!

My work on the biomechanics of spider locomotion hopes to tease out some of the secrets of exactly how they move with missing legs. I’m looking at wolf spiders, a native UK species which run fast overground, just as we’d like our robots to be able to do. By filming them with a high speed camera, I study their movement over flat surfaces and rough terrain. In particular, I look at how the individual legs pair up or group together – and how this changes when a leg is lost. This data can suggest how the spider gait is controlled, and from this we can design a bioinspired control system for a new or existing legged robot.

This type of adaptive, bioinspired control system could have real benefit to robotics, and to people. Robots typically house a suite of sensors, and these could report if a leg were to become damaged, or broken off completely. This would cause the control system to change to the ‘optimal’ gait for a missing leg, as inspired by the spider. Of course, this is a very simplified description of how it would work, but the positive impact remains. Robots like this could enter dangerous territory, coping with damage without needing humans around to fix it. They could be mounted with cameras to search for survivors alongside the emergency services, or used in the armed forces to sweep enemy territory for threats before in sending soldiers. So, by studying the movements of the humble spider, we can begin to develop bioinspired legged robots could save human lives.

Tickets for Pint Of Science talks are selling fast, so get over to through their official website to grab some.

Mendeley is extremely excited to be partnering with Pint of Science for the second year running! This year, we are sponsoring “Atoms to Galaxies” events across the UK, and Mendeley API & Mendeley Data are co-sponsoring “Tech Me Out” events. Last year was a massive success, and we feel passionate about the Pint of Science mission to bring research to the public, and give a chance for academics to present their work. We hope to help grow the event so more people can hear about the vast and amazing research happening in our galaxy — and beyond. 

Mendeley welcomes the SSRN Community!

SSRN

Mendeley is excited and pleased to welcome members of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) to our community! Elsevier, our parent company, today announced the acquisition of SSRN, meaning the users of SSRN will have access to the technology and collaborative tools of Mendeley.

We at Mendeley think this is a perfect match. As you know, Mendeley is all about “changing the way we do research.” SSRN, a scholarly research preprint repository and online community, believes in providing “tomorrow’s research today.” Together, it is yet another step towards creating the research future, with more global collaboration and a greater range of scholarly knowledge.

While Mendeley is a research platform for all disciplines, it is no secret we were founded by three PhDs in the so-called “hard sciences.” Meanwhile, SSRN has been attentive to the unique needs of the social sciences community, a place where research is often done with smaller collaborative groups and reliance on hypotheses and networks is often a key building block to research.

SSRN-and-Mendeley
SSRN CEO Gregg Gordon (center) with Mendeley co-founders Jan Reichelt and Paul Foeckler at Mendeley headquarters in London.

This aspect will stay the same at SSRN, but with the added bonus of Mendeley’s technology platform, our collaboration network, and other library and reference management tools. SSRN users will also be able to create Mendeley profiles, with all the benefits of network communications and “follow” capabilities.

For Mendeley, this brings the robust community SSRN has built into the fold, plus the opportunity for enhanced author relationships and provides access to a leading resource for content.

“Together, SSRN and Mendeley can provide greater access to the growing base of user-generated content, build new informational and analytical tools and increase engagement with a broader set of researchers,” said Gregg Gordon, President and CEO of SSRN. Read the full article from Gordon on Elsevier Connect.

“SSRN has established a solid network in Social Science domains, sharing working papers and showcasing researchers and institutions,” said Jan Reichelt, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Mendeley. “Together we can provide greater access to a growing user-generated content base on which we can build new tools and increase engagement between researchers and their papers. We intend to scale and maximize SSRN in ways that benefit authors, institutions and the entire scientific ecosystem.”

We look forward to working with SSRN and all the SSRN community members!

News on your Mendeley Newsfeed

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 09.33.08

Two months ago we launched the new look and feel for Mendeley newsfeed. The response has been really positive. Thank you for all of the survey responses and feedback —85% of you said you liked the new newsfeed so that was great news for us! We’ve been amazed at the great ideas and thoughts for what you’d like to see on the newsfeed – please keep them coming!

We’ve been squirrelled away at Mendeley HQ working on new ways for you to use the new feed to find new content and further your research.

What’s new
You can now comment on news items in your feed, so if you see someone has a new publication or has moved institution, you can congratulate them or ask them a question. Comments can be edited or deleted if you make an error, and you’ll see other people’s commenting on items in your newsfeed. We’ve also built ‘likes’ so if you’re too busy in the lab to write a detailed comment, you can show your appreciation with a single click.

You might also have noticed the brand shiny new bell in the top navigation bar that will tell you when your news is liked or commented on, or if you’ve made a comment and someone replies.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 09.30.47

There have also been some changes in the content that appears in your newsfeeds. We’ve built a people recommender to help you discover interesting people to connect with on Mendeley.

We’ve decided to add these features because we know that building connections and collaborating with other researchers is a crucial part of your work. We want to bring relevant discussions and interactions directly into your newsfeeds so that you’re always the first to know what is happening in your field!

So what’s next?

Well, we’re working on ways to make the newsfeed easier to use if you’re new to Mendeley and also to fill it with even more interesting content. The number one requested feature in the survey was “updates when a document in my library is cited, highlighted or read” so that’s something we’ve pushed up the backlog… watch this space!

What this does also mean is that we’ll be bidding farewell to the old dashboard so if you try to access it you’ll be redirected to the new newsfeed. We know that some of you might miss some group updates — so do we! — but we’ve made all of our changes to newsfeed using a new technology which is more flexible for the future. Although it doesn’t yet integrate with groups, will mean that we can add other exciting updates such as the ones requested in the survey. We are of course keeping group updates on the backlog and will be returning to them in the future.

Let us know what you think!

We will keep you informed of changes here in our blog, but we’d love to hear your feedback. Comment below, or take our (quick) survey on newsfeed — your answers will help shape the future of Newsfeed.

Cash_money

Pint Of Science preview – The “magic” of money: Welcome to the story of finance

Pint Of Science is back and only 2 weeks away!

Mendeley is extremely excited to be partnering with Pint of Science for the second year running! This year, we are sponsoring “Atoms to Galaxies” events across the UK. Last year was a massive success, and we feel passionate about the Pint of Science mission to bring research to the public, and give a chance for academics to present their work. We hope to help grow the event so more people can hear about the vast and amazing research happening in our galaxy — and beyond.

And also we’re pleased to announce Mendeley API & Mendeley Data are co-sponsoring “Tech Me Out” events across the UK!

As an introduction to the great talks on offer we’re going to be previewing some of the most interesting here on the Mendeley Blog.

First up Dr Tom van Laer (@tvanlaer), Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Sir John Cass Business School is showcasing his talk “The “magic” of money: Welcome to the story of finance” at the Castle, EC1 London on Tuesday 24th May.

uIaM19Q_.jpgA fancy term for persuasion by stories is narrative persuasion. The phenomenon of transportation, or mentally entering a narrative, plays a crucial role in narrative persuasion.

Here’s why: People find stories entertaining for two reasons. First, they imagine the events the main character experiences. Second, they feel for the character. In 1993, professor Richard Gerrig of Yale University published research in which he observed that people who find reading novels entertaining are changed by their reading experience, after they finish reading, such that readers who become engrossed in the story tend to accept the story as true, as well as the beliefs and behaviours that the characters exhibit as good. If people do not lose themselves in the story (meaning they are not transported), they respond negatively to the story or the characters and dismiss the narrative as nonsense.

To exert such effects, transportation first requires that people process stories. These stories can be conveyed by various media, including novels and movies, such as Harry Potter, soap operas, and social media. Second, people get transported through two main components: empathy for the main character and imagery of the events. Empathy implies for instance that people develop positive feelings toward Harry experience a connection with Harry’s values and fate. Imagery means for instance that people generate vivid images of the battle between Voldemort and Harry, such that they feel as though they are experiencing the battle themselves. Third, when transported, people lose track of reality in a physiological sense. The effect of transportation is narrative persuasion.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 09.54.50.png

After the global financial crisis set in, many people posted stories about how their bankers did not pay enough attention to them. In such a story, the customer is the main character and the banker is the bad guy. Naturally, bankers are not easily transported into such a story. Instead, their first reaction is to dispute the story and claim to indeed be oriented towards the client. I wondered whether it might be possible to help bankers become transported by focusing their attention in the story on the customer interest. You can redirect people’s focus by priming them with words. I took a dozen words, including compassion, compassion, moved, soft-hearted, sympathy, tender, and warm, and asked a group of bankers of a large financial institution to find these words in a word search puzzle. Next, the bankers were presented with a story about a negative experience of a bank client, along with the question of who was at fault. While bankers without the word search puzzle laid the blame and responsibility above all with the client, after the word search puzzle, bankers tended to see themselves as more at fault. So you can transport people in a relatively simple manner. From my research, it appears that although bankers are the bad guys in many stories, you can even transport them.

Tickets for Pint Of Science talks can be purchased through their official website.

Share a pint with Mendeley API and Mendeley Data!

RDM_Blog_2-01

They say behind every robot is powerful data.

Okay, so maybe they don’t say that, but they probably should. That is why Mendeley API and Mendeley Data are partnering up to co-sponsor the “Tech Me Out” events during the UK Pint of Science festival.

APIs are the backbone for the connected world. They, along with the code monkeys who use them, make it possible to access vast amounts of data so you can create new insights to advance science such as discovering new drugs, designing robots for rehabilitation or analysing weather patterns on other planets.

Mendeley Data is a place where researchers can upload and share their research data for free. Datasets can be shared privately amongst individuals, as well as published to share with the world. Sharing research data is great for Science as it enables data reuse and supports reproducibility of studies. It’s also a great way to gain exposure, as every dataset has a DOI and can be cited. You can create datasets through the website at or via the API, which allows for integrations with data sources, among other things.

APIs and large data sets are used from everything from programming small robots during company hackdays to big public health uses, like the IBM Watson for Oncology, which analyses a patient’s medical information against data to aid in delivering evidence-based treatment plans.

Together, they represent powerful tools deployed by technology and wielded to solve difficult and important research questions, such as the ones posed in the “Tech Me Out” track. This is why we are proud to sponsor these events. Come out to meet us and hear some great science!

Tickets for Pint Of Science talks can be purchased through their official website.