Advisor of the Month: Juliana Soares Lima

What is your name and job title?

My name is Juliana Soares Lima. I am a Reference Librarian at the Human Sciences Library of the Federal University of Ceará, located in the Northeast region of Brazil. I have graduated in Librarianship and completed my master’s degree in Information Science at the same institution that I work.

How did you get into your field?

I’ve always enjoyed reading and I love researching many things. I was also very happy to help other people get the information they needed, especially to exercise their rights and citizenship, so it’s not hard to deduce that this ‘curiosity’ would lead me to Librarianship and Information Science. From the day I discovered that I could work with books, information and knowledge to help and support in academic/scientific research, and somehow make a difference in people’s lives, then I decided that I wanted to be a librarian.

Where do you do work the best?

I feel fortunate to work in the Humanities area, as it is a field that is usually related to other areas of knowledge. So, I work better in an environment that allows me to live with the diversity of knowledge and people, that is, an environment in which open access to scientific knowledge is discussed; or about technology but without leaving aside what makes us human; and discuss politics and progress without forgetting the poverty and social problems that afflict Brazil and other countries.

How long have you been using Mendeley? 

I’ve been using Mendeley for 6 years. Since 2017 I have been a Mendeley Advisor.

Which solutions were you using prior to Mendeley?

I used to make references manually. Then I discovered some reference builders online and started using them, but I missed something that would allow me to go beyond building references, I wanted to manage them using some software. As a librarian, I usually use and research these tools and after a long search I found the reference managers Endnote, Mendeley, Zotero and others. I usually offer training in all three (Endnote, Mendeley, Zotero), but Mendeley is quite successful during training sessions because of the variety of functions and resources, as well as storage space has been an essential factor when comparing three software.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?

First, the nature of my work in the reference service, I usually teach, organize courses and other training courses that help the institution’s researchers to be successful in their research in databases and in the use of resources offered by the library, as well as the reference managers.

From the huge acceptance and the increase in the use of Mendeley in the institution, I decided to become Mendeley Advisor to always be aware of the news about the software and to be able to better assist the public served in the library. So that this objective could be reached, at the time, I led a series of actions to expand Mendeley’s reach at the Federal University of Ceará. I invited two more librarian colleagues (Edvander Pires and Izabel Lima) from the institution to help promote Mendeley in each Campus and increase the number of training and users. Together, we held face-to-face training sessions on Mendeley and then we developed tutorials that were posted on the library’s institutional website. During all the courses I also created a badge for students who want to help promote Mendeley to use it in their photos on Facebook or Twitter profiles. After that, we decided to create video classes and I did some tests before using Google Classroom to teach people how to use Mendeley. Each of us recorded the lessons and I edited them. All video lessons are available on YouTube.

Currently, during the month of May and June 2020,  I am teaching Mendeley for two classes in the Google Classroom, each class there are 250 students.

Video lessons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSaJUgnz0jg&list=PLOhWAljyF7ro5h0nMSA38Jj9en04JO3X6

Twibbon #ILoveMendeley: https://twibbon.com/support/ilovemendeley

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

Dead: 1) Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan, (born August 9, 1892, Madras, India — died September 27, 1972, Bangalore), Indian librarian and educator who was considered the father of Library Science in India and whose contributions had worldwide influence; 2) Aaron Swartz, he was an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, writer, political organizer, and Internet hacktivist. He was involved in the development of the web feed format RSS, the Markdown publishing format and the Creative Commons Licenses.

Alive: I am lucky to know and have worked with my advisor in the master’s degree, Professor Giovanna Guedes, but there are still so many good people that I wanted to meet in person! Antonio Agenor Briquet de Lemos (Retired professor at the University of Brasília); Professor Murilo Bastos, Michael Buckland, Tim Berners-Lee, Alice Meadows (NISO’s Director of Community Engagement), Christine Borgman (Distinguished Research Professor Information Studies University of California, Los Angeles), Luciano Floridi (Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford), Peter Suber, Lawrence Lessig.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Habibi, authored by Craig Thompson. It is a graphic novel set in a fictional landscape of Islamic fairy tales that describes the relationship between two slave children on the run.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

In Brazil, we are going through a difficult period in which we have to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and with government conflicts. It has been difficult; I can say that every week I learn something new even working from home. I have more and more faith and certainty that the sharing of information, scientific knowledge and the intense work of researchers can bring a global solution in the fight against COVID-19. Meanwhile, during this week, I am learning to balance household chores and work activities better than the previous month. Also, this week I’m learning to be resilient.

What is the best part about working in research?

There are many wonderful things in the development of research. I believe that there is no single best part, as it is a set of steps that complement each other: a) from the conception of the idea of a study; b) the search for scientific literature that supports the study; c) experiences from field research; d) the surprises that occur during the research; e) the discovery and exploitation of results, etc.

And the most challenging part about working in research?

There is no easy search! This is the good and the bad part at the same time.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

I want users to know how they can take advantage of Mendeley and explore all the available functions: managing references, building a profile on Mendeley online, depositing research data in Mendeley Data, using Mendeley to make systematic reviews and more.

Do you have any advice for young researchers? 

My advice is to keep studying and updating, especially nowadays when everything changes very quickly and we need to be prepared to obtain new knowledge and skills that we didn’t have before. Always adapt, renew and reinvent yourself. Don’t settle. Life is movement and we need to keep up with trends, however, without ever forgetting to value the classic and universal knowledge that remains current even after so many years. Be curious. Research and try to be critical: not everything written in a book, article or other material represents an absolute truth because in all knowledge there is a limit, a strength and a weakness.

 

Find out more about Juliana by viewing her Mendeley profile.

 Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here.

Advisor of the Month: Yahaya Gavamukulya

Editor’s note:  We’d like to congratulate Dr. Gavamukulya on finishing his PhD and inspiring a new group of Mendeley Advisors!

What is your name and job title?

I am Dr Gavamukulya Yahaya (PhD), a Lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Busitema University, Mbale – Uganda. I am also a dynamic Global Mendeley Advisor.

How did you get into your field?

Quite a very long story, but to sum it all up, passion led me where I am and has helped me stay here.

Where do you work the best?

In an environment with people who not only take me as a colleague, but get to learn and understand each and every one as an individual yet moving together as a team. Reciprocally, I really enjoy knowing everyone in my work environment as a person rather than just knowing them as colleagues, students, peers among others.

How long have you been using Mendeley? 

I have been using Mendeley for 6 years, 4 of which have been as an Advisor.

What were you using prior to Mendeley?

It’s quite embarrassing, but I was adding references manually without any reference manager.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?

With resources on the website, I taught myself how to use Mendeley and it took me some time before perfecting it. Once I perfected and became experienced in all the features, and with the gaps analysis in the communities I was living in, I decided to enroll as an Advisor in order to help train and enroll as many people as possible in order for them not to go through what I used to go through prior to discovering Mendeley. Additionally, research being at the core of our training, having a resource person with interest and expertise in guiding learners through Mendeley becomes an added advantage to the Institutions. I have so far recruited, enrolled and trained more than 1,700 Mendeley users globally.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

Prof Kary Banks Mullis (December 28, 1944 – August 7, 2019), just to thank him for the revolutionary technology of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).

What is the best part about working in research?

Navigating uncharted waters and eventually creating a trail…

And the most challenging part about working in research?

Uncertainty…

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

Mendeley is here to accompany them through the entire research journey.

Do you have an advice for young researchers? 

Passion, Passion, Passion, Patience, Perseverance and the correct team… It shall keep you there even when the going gets tough.

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Find out more about Dr. Gavamukulya by viewing his Mendeley profile.

Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here.

Advisor of the month: Giscard Wilfried Koyaweda

Editor’s note: Giscard hosted our first Advisor event in the Central African Republic!

What is your name and job title?

My Name is Giscard Wilfried Koyaweda.

Job Title – Research Assistant.

Where do you work?

I work as a Research Assistant at the National Laboratory of Clinical Biology and Public Health of Bangui, Central African Republic, in the Molecular Biology Department.

How did you get into your field?

Since childhood, I have always been fascinated by biological sciences and always chose that particular line. When I got to the University in 2012, I studied the Life and Earth sciences in my 1st year, Life Science during the 2nd year and Biochemistry in the 3rd. Immediately after my Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, I got an Internship at Institut Pasteur de Bangui in the Viral Hepatitis Laboratory. This has enabled me to develop more interest in research specifically health sciences.

In 2017, I was awarded the Pan African University scholarship to study a Master’s of science in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. During my Master’s, I worked on molecular virology of the hepatitis B virus in the Central African Republic. After successfully finishing my Master’s degree, I joined the Scientific Team of National Laboratory of Central African Republic.

How long have you been using Mendeley? 

I started using Mendeley in 2018.

What were you using prior to Mendeley?

Before, I used to make my references manually.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?

I have realized that Mendeley (an automated reference manager) is very helpful for research report writing and many students are not aware of this resourceful software. I attended an Advisor training session organized by the Advisor Dr. Yahaya Gavamukulya in 2018, which made me skilled in the software. As a person, I am very passionate about sharing knowledge with others in need. With that background, I have decided to become a Mendeley Advisor so that I can organize official training sessions about the usage of Mendeley to researchers and students who don’t have any knowledge in any reference manager in the Central African Republic and elsewhere.

(Editor’s note: Giscard is the first person to organize a Mendeley event in the Central African Republic! A big congratulations from Team Mendeley.)

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

I would like to work with Professor Anna Kramvis, a  Research Professor and Director of the Hepatitis Virus Diversity Research Unit (HVDRU), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. I really appreciate her scientific skills and work on the hepatitis B virus. Her primary research interest is the molecular virology of the hepatitis B virus (HBV), especially of uniquely African strains of the virus, which differ from those found in other regions of the world.

What is the best part about working in research?

In research, I enjoy the part of data analysis.

And the most challenging part about working in research?

From my experience conducting research in the area of biology, sample collection is the most challenging part.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

I believe that Mendeley is more than a simple reference manager because it offers the Mendeley Careers and Funding Opportunities.

Do you have any advice for young researchers? 

My advice for young researchers is that doing excellent research is not enough to grow scientifically. The results need to be shared with other scientists and in the research community. That will make you grow scientifically.

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Find out more about Giscard by viewing his Mendeley profile.

Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here.

 

Advisor of the Month: Emiliano Jozami

What is your name and job title?

Emiliano Jozami.
Teaching assistant and Auxiliary Researcher at the Research Council of the National University of Rosario (CIUNR) in Argentina.

Where do you work?

Parque Villarino, Zavalla
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the National University of Rosario, Argentina
https://fcagr.unr.edu.ar/

How did you get into your field?

As a student, I started working in research and collaboration in biology. This is a subject for first year students of Agriculture Engineering and the Bachelor of Natural Resources.

What are you currently working on?

I am researching two different lines:

  • Second generation biofuels and their sustainability using life cycle assessment methodology.
  • Climatology, teleconnections such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation, and its effects in crops yields.

How long have you been using Mendeley? 

I started using Mendeley in 2014. I was looking for a reference manager that could reduce the stressful work of organizing my bibliography. Mendeley had everything I required from a reference manager (i- easy and versatile ways of adding citations; ii- well-ordered bibliography; iii- it allows you to create your own tags along your library; iv- it allows you to find text within your files).

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?

To aid my colleagues in being more efficient in the time dedicated to the management of their library and its use in a manuscript/thesis or any type of writing that requires references.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

Dead: Charles Darwin.

Alive: C. Donald Ahrens. I love his books “Meteorology today”.

What book are you reading at the moment?

“Geopolítica y alimentos” by Juan José Borrell, a colleague from the CIUNR.

 What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

This week was particularly happy for me as I have obtained a scholarship at National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) to finish my PhD.

I have learned how to repair a leak at my bath with a brand-new sealer I have never used before.  (Editor’s note: Sounds like amazing work from Emiliano. Leaky bathtubs are terrible!)

What is the best part about working in research?

I love doing research. Since I was an undergraduate student, I have been passionate about it as well as explaining subjects to my fellow students at university. Both activities make me feel good with myself. It is really gratifying when I receive positive feedback from a student or when passing a selection processes; i.e:  obtaining a scholarship, an award, publishing an article in a prestigious journal or obtaining funding for research in high competition calls.

And the most challenging part about working in research?

Unfortunately, in Argentina, salaries are very low and the procedures to grow in this profession are not what one would expect.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

It really can make your work easier!! It is worth learning to use Mendeley and is really a user friendly software. It is also a great social network of researchers all over the world.

Do you have any advice for young researchers? 

Although the scenario can be adverse sometimes and things do not go always as you wish, keep trying it. Perseverance is essential to achieve your objectives.

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Find out more about Emiliano by viewing his Mendeley profile.

Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here.

Advisor of the Month: Felix Oke

Felix Oke: Anchor University, Lagos, Nigeria 

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

I undertake research in linguistics with a focus on media studies. Recently, I have got a deep insight into an emerging field called digital humanities.

My research career began while I was working on my final year project as an undergrad. I enjoyed the affordances there are in carrying out field work in linguistics. Next, I engaged with a robust and more detailed research project in medical linguistics. Recently, my research activities have revolved around media discourse and digital humanities with special interest in digitising images of cultural heritage in Nigeria.

Where do you do your research? What kind of environment suits you?

As a faculty staff member, I make use of my office in Lagos, Nigeria and sometimes in the library. I enjoy the serenity of my workplace. In a few occasions, I take a research retreat.

How long have you been using Mendeley? 

I started using Mendeley in 2016.

What were you using prior to Mendeley?

Due to my passion for referencing, I engaged in the manual way of documenting sources judiciously. Since the time I came across Mendeley, my research experience has changed tremendously.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?

I was surprised by the wonders of Mendeley, so I decided to learn and master the software. Also, I have passion in reaching out to researchers who don’t have the knowledge of any reference manager in my country.

I love referencing generally. I was part of a team of developers put together to work on the style sheet for referencing online data. I have taught that aspect of referencing with graduate students as part of their requirements for a course in methodology. I have also taught Mendeley in our Summer School on Digital Humanities, to the ICT staff of University and to other faculty and doctoral researchers.

Which researcher would you most like to work with, dead or alive?

The researcher I would like to work with is James Cummings, Newcastle, UK. He is a digital humanist who specialises in coding, mining and visualising humanities data.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Currently, I am reading Goals by Brian Tracy. I would like to learn more about attaining to one’s life goals.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done this week?

Teaching referencing to graduate students of the University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria, who have no prior knowledge of a reference manager like Mendeley.

What is the best part about working in research?

What I enjoy the most in research is the aspect of data interpretation or discussion.

And the most challenging part about working in research?

The most challenging part of research is data gathering.

What is one Mendeley “ProTip” you have?

I have discovered, over the years in Mendeley, the intricacy of what is called the “metadata”.

Biography

I am a doctoral candidate from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a lecturer in the Department of Languages and Linguistics from Anchor University, Lagos, Nigeria. My research interest borders on the intersection between language studies and digital software.

In my ongoing doctoral thesis titled “Construction of Identity and Ideology in Nigerian News Reports on Boko Haram Insurgency”, I have been able to show the trajectory of news discourse, critical discourse analysis and multimodal digital humanities in terrorism discourse. Recently, I have undertaken a research project on digitisation of cultural heritage in Nigeria.

Editor’s Note: Felix is too modest to say it here, but he has been working with his university to set up a Mendeley learning lab! We think this is pretty cool.

Find out more about Felix by viewing his Mendeley profile.

Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here

Advisor of the month: Merceline Obwaya

 

Merceline is a Library Assistant at the Kenyatta University Post Modern Library. Merceline grew up in a small village called Nyansara in Kisii County, Kenya. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Library and Information Science from Kenyatta University in December, 2014. She is passionate about providing timely and quality services to the community she serves.

 

How did you get into your field?
I love reading, but that’s not the reason I became a librarian. I love connecting people with the information they need to change their lives for the better. I love the hunt and the power of having the right information at the right time and teaching others to gain the skills too. I chose to pursue a degree in Library and information Science to accomplish all these through serving library/ information centres’ clients. I joined Kenyatta University Post Modern Library a few months after graduating and it has been exciting serving the University Community. It is amazing to work in a library!

Where do you do work the best?
In a relaxed and clean environment with people who are committed to their work and are self-driven.

How long have you used Mendeley?
I was first introduced to Mendeley in 2015 by my supervisor, who is currently the Deputy University librarian at Kenyatta University. Thanks Mr. Thuku!

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?
Microsoft Word citations & bibliography. Mendeley is a one-stop solution when it comes to research. It makes referencing and citation so easier, allows one to read the saved PDF documents, make notes and add comments and even search the web catalog for more related reference documents and suggests more articles for further reading. It is an amazing tool.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor, and how are you involved with the program?
When I joined Kenyatta University, I realized most of the users I served had issues with citation and referencing. I took the challenge to learn more about Mendeley, so that I can help them rather than giving them several referrals to the reference experts. I joined the Librarian certification program in 2017 and I learnt and sharpened my skills in using Mendeley. I am involved in the library Information Literacy training sessions and one of the key issues addressed in the trainings is use of the reference management tools. I am the Mendeley expert in my library! I train the students and staff how Mendeley can make their research more enjoyable and easier.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?
No one in particular, but I wish to meet the Mendeley team. They have done so much to make referencing such an easier task, providing all the support and resources needed by the users to learn more about Mendeley. The people behind this magic.

What book are you reading at the moment?
In addition to the many articles I read while working, I am currently reading “Doors of opportunity: issues in personal development and achievement” by Sebuye Livingstone.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?
Learning is a continuous process. There is always something new to learn each day.

What is the best part about working in research?
Always learning to solve problems scholars face to make their research life better and interesting.

And the most challenging part about working in research?
When people assume that as an information professional you know everything, and that you can solve all the challenges they face in the research world.

What is one Mendeley “ProTip” you have?
All the Mendeley features are just where I exactly need them. The new Mendeley web importer is an amazing development! I can now save the subscribed articles without going through the long process of downloading them to my desktop folders first.

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Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here

Advisor of the month: Virginia Ballance

Virginia BallanceVirginia Ballance is the Nursing and Health Sciences Librarian at the University of The Bahamas. She works in the Hilda Bowen Library at the nursing school campus in downtown Nassau Bahamas.

How did you get into your field?
I loved studying and working in the library while I was at university and after graduate school studies sort of moved seamlessly into librarianship.

Where do you do work best?
In the library.

How long have you been using Mendeley?
I set up an account several years ago mostly to try it out. Last year the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research suggested I offer a workshop on reference management – we selected Mendeley because of the great features.

What were you using prior to Mendeley?
Years ago I used EndNote but in recent years, embarrassed to say, I wasn’t using anything…

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?
The Mendeley Advisor programme encouraged me to really learn to use the product and exploit all its features as well as providing me with the training materials (presentations that could be customized, posters and certificates) needed to run a workshop. Being an Advisor puts you in contact with a fabulous group of Mendeley users all over the world to share experiences using Mendeley. There are other great benefits such as having a larger account size and greater number of Mendeley groups.

Which researcher would you most like to work with, dead or alive?
Hard question – to be honest, I really enjoy working with the students and faculty here at the University of The Bahamas.

What book are you reading at the moment?
Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari and about 10 other books…

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?
I discovered Google Crisis Maps. This is a special project which gives access to satellite images and maps specifically for emergency situations. I was amazed to see details of the extent of the devastation on the two islands in the Bahamas that were hit by Hurricane Dorian on September 1, 2019. https://www.google.org/crisismap/weather_and_events

What’s the best part about working in research?
Seeing your name in print! Getting cited!

And the most challenging part about working in research?
Procrastination. Making time in the day or the week to work on writing especially when there are so many distractions.

What’s the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?
It can make your scholarly writing so much easier…

Do you have any advice for young researchers?
Absolutely – be brave, go to conferences, present your ideas, network, work with your colleagues, and let the librarians in your institution know what you are working on.

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Watch Virginia give advice on the best methods and tools to effectively collect, organize and retrieve a personal knowledge base as part of Elsevier’s recent Build My Knowledge webinar

Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here

Advisor of the Month: Payam Sepahvand

 

Intro:

I’m Payam Sepahvand, an undergraduate student at Lorestan University of Medical Sciences and a researcher at Razi Herbal Medicines Research Centre in Iran.

How did you get into your field?

I am at the beginning of my research journey. My story began when my mother became sick and was treated with herbal medicines. After that, I became very interested in research on herbal medicines and traditional medicine.

Where do you do work the best? 

I like an environment for conducting research, where people work and study with love, interest and help other humans and other creatures on the planet, away from material purposes.

How long have you been using Mendeley? 

I’m have been using Mendeley for almost two years.

What were you using prior to Mendeley 

Before Mendeley I used the EndNote application. Mendeley software has a much better and faster user interface, as well as being free and always available.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor ?

Always when I find something good and functional, I love to share it. That’s why I decided to introduce this useful and functional tool to others, as far as I can, and improve the work speed of others.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

I would like to work with Professor Thomas Efferth, the chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Biology, Institute of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany. I’m trying to be like him in my job.

What book are you reading at the moment ?

I’ve read the book “One Minute for yourself” of Spencer Johnson, because by improving and upgrading my skills, I can be more useful to the world.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

The new matter that I learned was about implementing a new irrigation system for agriculture. Along with studying, I am engaged in agriculture to cover my expenses.

What is the best part about working in research?

The best part of being a research fellow is to step in and enter the world of unknown and new things.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?

For me at the moment, provision of the costs and expenses of conducting research projects has become the hardest part of the work, but in general, if there is love and interest in the work, certainly, any difficulty is tolerable.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

If I just want to talk about a feature, I’d like others to know more about the great user interface of this software.

 

Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here

Advisor of the month: Ahmad Samir Alfaar

Dr. Ahmed Samir Alfaar

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

My cousins had a home library full with science fiction stories that encouraged me to read more about science, my mother was a high school mathematics teacher that used to build models for teaching, I started to read early in biology and by the end of high school I decided to be a physician that practices medicine and does research. I entered medical school, finding no chances for practicing research for students, I decided to practice programming and by the end of medical school I decided to specialize in Ophthalmology and medical/biomedical informatics. I was called to participate in founding the research department at Children’s Cancer Hospital, Egypt in 2008. The team we built created a great environment to learn more about clinical and biomedical research, so I specialized in ophthalmic oncology research. We have gained knowledge together in many aspects and identified the areas that need development in ourselves. After three years, I have been assigned as a head of the research education unit. I have designed and organized multiple training programs for students, early graduates and hospital staff training on clinical research. After finishing my diploma of informatics, Master of science in ophthalmology and Master science of Advanced oncology, I decided to pursue my PhD in molecular medicine and integrated my informatics knowledge in that. Due to the delay in starting my PhD, I have completed another doctorate degree for physicians (Dr. med.)  and now I am conducting a second doctorate degree (MD/PhD in Neuroscience) at Charité Universtätsmedizin – Berlin and Humboldt University International Graduate School of Neuroscience. My current research focuses on the underlying mechanisms of Retinal degenerative diseases beside many other topics.

Where do you do your research? What kind of environment suits you?

I have found that the best place for production is the garden and on the train. However, I lack power supply in the garden, my laptop does not last for very long disconnected and I do not travel that often to allow myself to work on trains, so I find myself obliged to accept working at my desk.

The best environment for research, for me, is open space where I work with students, colleagues and other physicians, sharing knowledge freely, teaching and discussing clinical and biological dilemmas without limits or sensitivities. In any place I plan to work I install a big white board for describing, modelling, sharing and breeding ideas, sometimes, over years.

How long have you been using Mendeley? 

Over 10 years, since its first beta versions.

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?

Before Mendeley I was using Zotero. Zotero was a great move in the field of citation management after classic ones like Endnote. However, Mendeley represented the first user-oriented, user-friendly, and of course free, software. Its learning curve was extremely steep. Before that, researchers required longer time to learn the software, build their own library, and cite within the documents. Mendeley accelerated my speed of organization, annotation and writing and submission of manuscripts. These findings were noticed also by my students and colleagues whom I taught Mendeley. Moreover, it allowed hundreds of my students to collaborate effectively on publications and scientific documents over the last 10 years. Such web 2.0 features were unique in Mendeley.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?

I was teaching Mendeley before being an Advisor. Being a Mendeley Advisor means I am updated about feature-releases early and supported with teaching materials. Moreover, it allowed me to be recognized by those who want to learn about the software. A more valuable reason was the storage space given to Advisors. This allowed me to build large number of groups during the big courses that I was organising, to evaluate participants’ progress, and to practice with them till the publications get published.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

From the last 100 years; Alfred G. Knudson Jr, and from the last 1000 years; Ibn Al-Haytham.

Besides, many people that impressed me by their art of organised depiction starting from nominal observations.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Behave, by Robert Sapolsky. It provides a perspective of a scientist on the triggers and development of human behaviour and the potential relation to other creatures.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

Working in research raises the threshold of signals that can be named interesting. It teaches you to doubt everything. Everything requires re-analysis even what very reputable outlets broadcast.

What is the best part about working in research?

You keep asking, diving in the space of answers, you keep mutating and breeding your questions, evaluating your question, however, no answer is satisfying, but you report your position and enjoy the game.

And the most challenging part about working in research?

To convince humans of something they cannot model (imagine) and to form holes in their conflicts of interest.

What is one Mendeley “ProTip” you have? 

Drag, drop, show me your paper

Biography 

Dr. Ahmed Samir Alfaar, is a physician (ophthalmologist), informatician, medical educator, patients’ advocate and clinical research expert. He was graduated from Cairo University Medical School in 2005. He received PPCR Clinical research certificate from Harvard University in 2009, Certificate of E-Learning Development from Inwent-GIZ in 2009, Diploma in Informatics from Helwan University in 2010,  Master of science in Ophthalmology in 2012, and Masters of Science in Advanced Oncology from Ulm University in 2014. Ahmed worked as a clinical research specialist in Retinoblastoma and Pediatric solid tumors between 2008 and 2014 in the Children’s Cancer Hospital – Egypt, and the head of research education unit between 2011 and 2014.

He moved to Berlin in 2015 to work in the experimental ophthalmology department, Charité Universtätsmedizin-Berlin and received his first doctorate degree (Dr. med.) in Ocular Oncology in 2018 and since 2017 he has been studying for MD/PhD degree in the International Graduate School of Medical Neuroscience, Humboldt University and Charité Universtätsmedizin-Berlin.

Ahmed has received multiple awards and grants for his activities in research and education.

He has been a Mendeley advisor since September 2012, one of the first advisors in Egypt, and taught referencing management using Mendeley to hundreds of students worldwide.

Further details can be found on:

Website: http://www.ahmadsamir.com/

Mendeley Profile: https://j.mp/AlfaarMEND

LinkedIn: https://j.mp/AlfaarIN

ResearchGate: https://j.mp/AlfaarRG

 

Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here

Advisor of the month: Serge Kameni Leugoue

Editor’s note:  Serge helped welcome our 10,000th Advisor-generated user of 2019 in early June.

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

I am involved in animal sciences, particularly animal reproduction research. I came across this research field because of my will to improve livestock practice in sub-Saharan Africa and especially in Cameroon. As a matter of fact, livestock remains labour intensive, leading to poor yield and subsequent insufficiency in protein availability on market regardless of the hard work of farmers. Furthermore, they solely rely on natural mating which limits their profits. Despite being on increasing pressure to farm as cost effective as possible, and taking into account the rapid increasing of population, producers are facing a critical challenge which on my view can be tackled using assisted reproductive techniques. My background is biology, indeed I obtained my bachelor with a major in animal physiology at the University of Dschang, Cameroon. I started a master’s in plant pharmacology, but I rapidly switched to animal sciences and I moved to South Africa, to the University of Stellenbosch where I have refined my knowledge and lab practice in animal sciences close to Dr. Helet Lambretchs who gave me, in collaboration with Dr. Gilbert Ateufack from the University of Dschang, the opportunity to be part of the amazing voyage to the unknown reality that science allows to illuminate. I am a PhD student in animal sciences at the University of Dschang, Cameroon and my research project focuses on small ruminant’s assisted reproduction. Currently, I am on a research stay at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, where we are working on the development of biodegradable food packaging.

Where do you do your research?

The research I am involved in requires me to be outside for sample collection and to be in the lab for analysis. I am at my ease in both sites, but I generally prefer to be outside because I can browse and appreciate the beautiful landscapes of Africa in miniature – Cameroon and breathe some fresh air.

How long have you been using Mendeley? 

I have been on Mendeley since 2015. Indeed, I was introduced to the software at the beginning of my master studies in South Africa by the librarian in charge of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Stellenbosch and have used it ever since. I want to say thanks again to Yusuf, the librarian, it has been of great help and it’s still the case.

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?

Before Mendeley, I was using the MS Word reference. Of course, it wasn’t that efficient. I remembered one day that my system crashed, I lost all my resources and I had to rebuild it from the beginning.

Mendeley has drastically changed my research, now I am safe from losing my resources, I can access them anytime and anywhere, and I receive consistent suggestions of research papers – no need to browse the whole internet to stay updated. In addition, I can connect with others, find careers and funding opportunities.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?

I am part of those who believe that right tools should be shared with others. For me, Mendeley is one of these excellent tools, that is the reason why I decided to become an Advisor and assist others to be more efficient by optimizing their research work with Mendeley.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

Tu Youyou. She is the first Chinese woman to win a Nobel Prize in 2015 for her work in creating an anti-malaria drug that saved millions of lives in Asia and Africa. She relied on traditional Chinese medicine in her discovery of artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin, which have helped significantly improve the health of people living in tropical climates. She made me think of the year I worked in plant pharmacology.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Recently, I attended a training course in France where we discussed cell culture and of course Hela cells. I then dug a bit about the origin of those cells and I found that they were derived from the cancer cells of Henrietta Lacks. The title of this book is just fascinating “immortal life” it effectively highlights how we have been moved forward with research – opening novel perspectives.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

Life is really an adventure and should not be taken as a long and calm stream. Whatever the challenge you meet, keep going, you won’t win anytime but do your best.

What is the best part about working in research?

Without hesitation, being at the forefront of pushing the world forward by trying to improve living conditions, bringing your own stone to the big building.

And the most challenging part about working in research?

Patience, nowadays being patient is not that a shared value, especially when working in a team, yet research that produce actionable results requires time, thus patience.

What is one Mendeley “ProTip” you have? 

Being able to import the resources straight to the appropriate folder of the library using the web plugin. It’s really time saving as you can import and tidy up everything at once. I think also being able to share your unpublished data is an important point as generally most of the research is not published, but at least you can share it with others.

Serge’s Biography :

I obtained my High School certificate with a major in mathematics and physics and I then jumped in to university where I received my Bachelor Degree in Animal Physiology from the University of Dschang, Cameroon in 2011. I received my Postgraduate Diploma in 2012 and I moved to the University of Stellenbosch in the Republic of South Africa for a one-year research stay. Back in Cameroon, I completed my MSc in 2015 in the same field as my bachelor. While being a full-time PhD student at the University Dschang in Cameroon, I am currently on a 6-month research stay at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy.

I am a member of the Cameroon Forum for Biological Sciences (CAFOBIOS).

I am a Mendeley Advisor!!!

I share a special interest for environment protection, so I am involved in several NGOs as United voices to Serve Forests and Environment (USFE) International, which is an organization that design and implement actions towards environment preservation.

I am an amateur chess player.

 

Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here