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

October 2019 Advisor Briefing Webinar

Showcasing, Mendeley Reference Manager and new teaching materials!

We had another successful Advisor Briefing, but just in case you missed it the recording is available.   Listen to learn what we have been building over the last 3 months.

Listen here

This quarter we covered:

  • Showcasing: We’ve been hard at work updating Mendeley profile features so that you can better demonstrate your research output to the world
  • Mendeley Reference Manager New Features:  Meet some more of the team behind Reference Manager and learn about the new features they are building
  • New Material Updates: Find out what new teaching materials are available

As always, you can register an event or access teaching materials here.

Love and References,

The Mendeley Community Team

 

Would you like to become a certified peer reviewer?

 

The process of peer reviewing is associated with certain challenges. Editors often struggle with finding reviewers for their next articles. Reviewers want to demonstrate their expertise but have no way of getting noticed. It happens that reviewers decline requests due to lack of familiarity with the subject matter, or because they think they are not competent and experienced enough to review someone else’s work. In the mission of overcoming these challenges, potential reviewers can gain ground skills on peer reviewing by participating in The Certified Peer Review course developed by Elsevier Researcher Academy. Becoming a certified peer reviewer will allow potential reviewers to publicly demonstrate their expertise as referees and contribute to the integrity of academic.

What is happening?

For the past few months, the Elsevier Researcher Academy team was working on a new crash course. The course has been specifically designed to give those who have not yet reviewed – or who feel they would like additional training in this area – the skills and confidence to accept a request to review. The course content is delivered via directed self-learning in the form of webinars, podcasts and questionnaires and can be tackled at the desired pace of the participant. Completion is recognised by a certificate. We hope that the course will help to tackle the reviewer shortage issue that so many of you and your peers face.

Why is this important?

The integrity of scholarly communications depends heavily on the peer reviewing process. 82% academics agreed “without peer review there is no control in scientific communication” and 74% agreed that reviewing significantly raises the quality of published papers (full report here). Therefore, it is crucial for science to expand the reviewer pool and to ensure that proper training is received for producing trustworthy and high-quality peer reviews.

Researchers agree that there is a general ”lack of guidance about how to perform a good review, and reviewers are expected to ‘learn on the job’” (read more here).  Therefore, 77% of reviewers would be interested in receiving specific peer reviewing training. Those who are interested are early researchers (with experience of 5 years and less) but also established career researchers.

What to expect?

The course is divided into 4 major sections.  Each section features complex subthemes to assure that every aspect of the procedure is covered, establishing skills and confidence in the process.

When is it happening?

The course will launch during Peer Review Week on 17th September. Register for free via this link: https://researcheracademy.elsevier.com/navigating-peer-review/certified-peer-reviewer-course/introduction-certified-peer-reviewer-course

Peer review week is a global event, organized to emphasize the central role peer review plays in scholarly communication. On 16-20 September 2019, individuals, institutions and organizations devoted to the mission of maintaining a high quality of science participate in this event to share research, highlight the latest innovation and advance best practices.

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

Do you have enough chairs?

  We noticed an interesting trend in the Mendeley workshops you are running.  Not only are you running more events, but they also seem to be getting bigger!  (We wanted to start sending out chairs as merchandise to help you accommodate all those extra attendees, but the mailroom guys said “Nooooo.” Apparently, the mailroom isn’t big enough!)

We think this growth is brilliant and we wanted to share the numbers with you:

As of September 10, 2019, you have run 275 events with more than 17,000 attendees this year.  Sessions have an average of 63 attendees.  In all of 2018, we had 125 events with close to 7000 attendees.  The average was number of attendees 55.

Breaking it down by month, we see that there is a steady growth in the number of attendees per event.  In January 2019, the average event had 50 attendees and by September 2019, events had an average of 78 attendees.

What’s driving the growth? Librarians!  (We always knew we loved them.)  We had virtual coffees with a few librarian Advisors to find out how you run events.  While some of you are getting 200 people in a room for a class, most of you are doing a lot of one-on-one support through the reference desk but we are counting all the drop-in sessions as one event.

Lessons we learned:  Not all events look the same! Some are a traditional class, but some are more individual coaching sessions spread out over the entire semester. We love them all, so keep at it and let us know if you need a merchandise to support your drop-in sessions.

Regardless of the form your event takes, we are happy to support it.  To get merchandise and other support, register your event on the Mendeley Advisor Community page.

So it looks like maybe we don’t need more chairs yet, just bigger boxes to mail off all the merchandise!

 

 

Advisors from Argentina to Zimbabwe

For many of us in the Advisor community, August is a slow month.  There are summer holidays, winter breaks and just the lull that naturally comes in August.

But not for all of you!  In August, you hosted 23 events around the world and introduced over 1200 people to the power of Mendeley.  (Last year we had 3 events with less than 120 attendees in August.)

Some of the highlights of the month:

  • We had events in 11 countries from Argentina to Zimbabwe! (This is up from 3 countries in August 2018)
  • The University of Mauritius hosted its first Advisor event as part of their Schrodinger Day
  • Our largest event this month was hosted by Oscar Javier Zambrano Valdivieso at Colombia’s Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios (UNIMINUTO) with 200 attendees
  • The Brazilian Advisors hosted 6 events, making them the most prolific country

Do you have any upcoming Mendeley events?  Make sure to register them with us so we can send you stickers, pens and other giveaways!

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