Meet the Mendeley Data advisory board: Amy Neeser

In this series of interviews, we meet some of the members of the Mendeley Data advisory board and get their thoughts on the role of research data management (RDM), and how Mendeley Data can contribute to this.

Amy NeeserName: Amy Neeser

Job Title: Consulting and Outreach Lead at University California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)

Bio: Amy is a data librarian working in Research IT. She coordinates the consulting efforts across the Data Management and Research Computing programs to offer a holistic approach to data and computation. She also facilitates their community, partnership, and outreach programs. She previously worked as the Research Data Management Program Manager at UC Berkeley, as Data Curation Librarian at the University of Michigan, and as a science librarian at the University of Minnesota.

What motivates you each morning?

I am passionate about research. I love that I get to help enable world changing research by helping Berkeley faculty, students, and staff address the challenges and opportunities associated with research data and computing.

What challenges do you want to see RDM fix?

There are two main things really. In terms of practicality, I would love to see RDM really focus on sensitive data needs. Currently this is often managed at an institutional level, but it would make a huge impact if there was a nationwide, or product-based solution that could address this. That would be huge.

Secondly, I think RDM is vital for reproducibility. Technologies like containers and Jupyter Notebooks enable users to share not only their data but also the software, versions, and specs to analyze it. As these types of technologies data management practices become more commonly used, it will be much easier to share and reproduce results!

What excites you most about Mendeley Data?

I like how the different modules and features available can easily interact with each other. And it’s practical, supporting the data management process.

I feel that Mendeley Data Repository can help institutions address the reproducibility crisis, and it can save the need for institutions to create a repository at a local level.

What do you think the future holds for RDM?

I don’t think RDM can or should be “owned” by one unit or department, such as the library. It’s too big an area to be managed alone, and different players bring difference expertise and experience. It calls for a combined effort.

A lot of the questions that I get are in the active phase of the research lifecycle and often include sensitive data. IT can help with these issues, but also needs the library’s expertise around the beginning (planning, finding) and end (publishing, sharing, preserving) of the research lifecycle to provide researchers with a holistic approach to their scholarship.

More researchers from across domains use data and computational resources, and I think IT must be closely aligned with the library and other important players on campus such as the office of research.

 

Find out more about Mendeley Data here.

Meet other members of the Mendeley Data advisory board here.

Meet the Mendeley Data advisory board: David Groenewegen

In this series of interviews, we meet some of the members of the Mendeley Data advisory board and get their thoughts on the role of research data management (RDM), and how Mendeley Data can contribute to this.

David GroenewegenName: David Groenewegen

Job Title: Director, Research, Monash University Library

Bio: David Groenewegen is the Director, Research. He is responsible for Library client services to the science, technology, engineering and medicine disciplines at Monash University, as well as the contribution the Library makes to the University’s research activity.

David has wide-ranging experience working in the areas of electronic information provision and related technology. Before returning to Monash University Library in 2013 he spent four years as a Director of the Australian National Data Service, where he was involved with the development and implementation of data management solutions across the Australian university sector.

What motivates you each morning?

The thing I most love doing is trying to find ways to help our researchers do their job better, which in the library means giving them the tools, training and resources they need, at the time they need it, and in ways that simplifies their life, not complicates it. I’ve been lucky to have the chance to try lots of new and cool things in my career, and I’m always looking for the next one.

What challenges do you want to see RDM fix?

I want things to become frictionless. I’d like to see software that’s smart enough to understand the subtleties of where data is stored and create that connect with other software and processes throughout the researcher lifecycle. This would really help to overcome the messiness caused by having information all over the place.

What excites you most about Mendeley Data?

One valuable thing that Mendeley Data is trying to address is how to bring data together, and manage it in a consistent end-to-end way. But for me, the modular aspect of Mendeley Data is the most exciting part. You’re not locked into one solution, instead you’re able to plug in different Mendeley Data modules into your own workflows – it’s the way universities like ours want to work

What do you think the future holds for RDM?

The need for RDM is well known, but there are still a lot of people struggling with finding the most frictionless way of doing things. Bespoke software might appear to be the best solution, but often this won’t work fantastically well, as integrating new processes into existing workflows isn’t easy. RDM isn’t as simple as storing data in a repository. I’m seeing growing recognition of the need to curate data and package it up for later use, so that others can get a decent answer out of it. Most of the tools currently available don’t support this very well.

Following on from this, long-term curation and management of shared data is also a key area I’d like to see develop. What was considered a lot of data 10 years ago isn’t now, but it’s not feasible to continue buying more storage so that we can keep everything just in case. Improving metadata goes a long way towards addressing this as it enables you to make quick decisions later on, but I’d like to see new processes developed that help us to identify if we no longer require to hold certain data.

 
Find out more about Mendeley Data here.

Meet other members of the Mendeley Data advisory board here.

Meet the Mendeley Data advisory board: Rebecca Koskela

Sharing research data has the potential to make research more reproducible and efficient. When developing Mendeley Data – an ecosystem that enables data to be stored, shared and re-used – we worked with a board of librarians and research leaders from across the research data management community.

In this series of interviews, we meet some of the members of the Mendeley Data advisory board and get their thoughts on the role of research data management (RDM), and how Mendeley Data can contribute to this.

Rebecca KoskelaName: Rebecca Koskela

Job Title: Executive Director of DataONE at University of New Mexico

Bio: Rebecca Koskela is responsible for the day-to-day operation of DataONE—coordinating all technical, management, reporting, and budget issues.

Prior to her current position, Rebecca was the Life Sciences Informatics Manager for Alaska INBRE, and the Biostatistics and Epidemiology Core Manager for the Center for Alaska Native Health Research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In addition to her bioinformatics experience, Rebecca has over 25 years’ of experience in high performance computing, including positions at Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Cray Research and Intel.

What motivates you each morning?

In addition to duties at DataONE, I’m a volunteer for other projects, such as EarthCube and Research Data Alliance, which are also concerned with research data management. The collaboration with these other projects moves them all forward.

What challenges do you want to see RDM fix?

There are two main challenges that I’d like to see addressed more quickly.
It’s great that more and more funding agencies are requiring data management plans, but I think we’re lagging in the development of tools to help people do the actual planning.

I also still see problems today around data discovery and the need for adequate documentations to re-use data. In 2010, we carried out a survey at DataONE which found that researchers had limited understandings of metadata standard. Unfortunately, even with the emphasis on FAIR data, we still have a long way to go to highlight the significance of metadata.

What excites you most about Mendeley Data?

The thing that stands out to me the most about Mendeley Data is that, contrary to what people may think, Elsevier doesn’t own the data – it remains in the control of the researcher. I love that.

Mendeley Data 5 factsI also really like the fact that users can pick and choose which modules they’d like to use. This means that you can get started somewhere, and have the option to expand into other RDM tools when it suits you, instead of having to start using everything from the offset.

What value does Mendeley Data bring to the space?

Mendeley Data is all about education – it helps people learn what is meant by RDM, and then provides the tools to do it.

I also like the fact that you can manage different metadata standards with Mendeley Data. It’s a good quality product built on strong coding.

What do you think the future holds for RDM?

I hope that people will pay attention to the need for quality metadata. I’d like to see better tools being developed that will speed up change here.
I also think that education needs to play at important part in RDM – it should go hand-in-hand with tool creation. I also want to see some success stories that show how added effort can really pay off.

 

Find out more about Mendeley Data here.

Meet other members of the Mendeley Data advisory board here.

 

Supporting the movement toward gender equity in STEM

Diverse faculties are vital. In research, they bring different perspectives to bear on projects, supporting innovation and discovery. In education, they foster a greater range of young minds thanks to their broader understanding of marginalization and privilege. While some advances toward gender equity in STEM faculties have been made, women remain greatly under-represented, particularly women of color.

The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) recognizes the serious long-term impact of this lack of diverse perspectives in research and education. They’re working toward equity in STEM, and this year, they’ve launched an exciting initiative to further that crucial goal: the ADVANCE Resource and Coordination (ARC) Network Community. It is intended to bring together diverse audiences, including scholars, educators, practitioners and researchers, to collaborate on, discuss and implement change.

At Mendeley, we firmly believe in the goals of the AWIS and are proud to be supporting them. We have created a new dedicated online group for the ARC Network to help members from across the globe connect. They can share both ideas and resources, including reports, articles, datasets and videos, as well as organizing online events and learning opportunities.

In addition, Elsevier’s preprint service SSRN will host a dedicated STEM First Look series to support the initiative. This will be a quarterly digest of STEM equity content and early-stage research, including presentations, white papers, videos, podcasts and webinars.

Mendeley and SSRN are designed for connection, sharing and collaboration, and that’s exactly what the ARC Network needed when they approached us. As Dr. Heather Metcalf, AWIS Chief Research Officer and ARC Network Principal Investigator explains, “with the online research collaboration tools generously provided by Elsevier, the ARC Network will facilitate the early adoption and implementation of promising practices and sharing of new research findings. Providing these opportunities broadens our collective impact on STEM equity in unprecedented ways.”

Gaby Appleton, Managing Director of Mendeley and Researcher Products said of the collaboration “Supporting researchers and educators is the core vision for Mendeley. We’re delighted to be part of the ARC Network initiative because it means supporting a healthy future for scholarship and innovation in STEM.”

Find out more about AWIS here and their ADVANCE Resource and Coordination (ARC) Network Community here

Find out more about SSRN here

Webinar: How to write an excellent review article – an editor’s guide

By My Pham

Writing a compelling review article is an opportunity to contribute to the development of your field by creating a synthesis of the best resources available and potential new research areas to explore in the future.

Webinar How to write an excellent review articleYet, writing a review article is not at all an easy task. How to best structure it? Is an editor’s invitation a must to write reviews? How to distinguish an adequate review from an excellent one? Those are among many questions that researchers often have in mind when it comes to writing review articles. To help address these concerns, Lindsey Drayton, Editor at Trends in Cognitive Sciences, and Matt Pavlovich, Editor at Trends in Biotechnology, will offer their editorial perspective on what they’re looking for in a review in Researcher Academy’s upcoming webinar on June 27th, 1pm (UTC). The experts will discuss how to both conceptualize and write a review, how to distinguish your review by making a strong statement, and why writing a review is worth your time. They will also dispel some common myths about review articles and give advice for how to propose a review to an editor.

You can now send the speakers questions in advance by joining the Researcher Academy Mendeley group and post your queries there.

Register for the webinar here

Supporting researchers with the new Mendeley Reference Manager

Laura ThomsonLaura Thomson, PhD, is Head of Reference Management at Mendeley. She has been with Elsevier since the start of 2015, and brings over 18 years’ experience with information products and research solutions to her role. Praised by her group for her clear vision and creative approach, she plays a key role in shaping how reference management is discussed and driven at Elsevier. With some exciting new developments happening with Mendeley’s reference management solutions, we met with her to find out more.

We recently heard from your colleague Gaby Appleton about the overall vision for Elsevier’s researcher solutions, especially Mendeley. How do Mendeley’s reference management solutions, specifically, fit within that vision?

As Gaby will have told you, the vision for Elsevier is to contribute to improving the information system supporting research. Our aim is to help researchers work even more efficiently so they can spend more time making discoveries.

That’s a statement that truly resonates with me. I started out as a biochemist and, as that career progressed, other tasks started to take over more of my time. In many ways, it stopped being fun because there was less time to do the real research.

The vision for Mendeley is to provide researchers with time-saving tools that help speed up and simplify their workflows. We want to take reference management off researchers’ minds by making all the tasks related to collecting, organizing, reading, annotating and citing as simple as possible – and key to this is the development of the new Mendeley Reference Manager.

With that guiding vision, communication with researchers must be very important to your team’s development plans.

Absolutely. The tools we offer must address challenges in researchers’ daily reality, so we are in constant communication with a range of researchers – those that use Mendeley, those that use other solutions, and those that don’t use any digital software at all to manage their references. These aren’t just casual conversations either. We have a robust user discovery program consisting of weekly sessions in which researchers test what we’re doing and give feedback.

This is an ongoing process, allowing us to provide researchers with a reference manager that not only addresses feedback gathered in the past, but also continues to develop over time with regular releases responding to feedback we continue to receive. Mendeley Reference Manager will evolve as researchers’ needs and the research landscape evolve.

Can you tell us more about the new developments you’re making with Mendeley Reference Manager?MRM image 2

In 2008, Mendeley was launched as a reference manager for researchers. Over the years, we’ve continued to develop Mendeley Desktop and the reference manager products.

More recently, though, it’s become increasingly difficult to keep developing the original Mendeley Desktop in the way we and our users need. A key element of this is how often we release a new version; with Mendeley Desktop we release four to five times a year, but with the new Mendeley Reference Manager we are releasing every two weeks. This means that we can respond faster to user feedback, and get new functionality and fixes out more regularly.

We have also built Mendeley Cite – a new citation add-in for Microsoft® Word. As with Mendeley Reference Manager, we have developed this very much in response to user feedback. For example, users have increasingly been asking for citation support in Microsoft® Office 365 but we could not offer this with the existing Mendeley citation plugin, as it’s built in VBA. We have built the new Mendeley Cite in JavaScript so users can now cite in Office 365.

Can you give us some more details about Mendeley Cite, and any other changes people can expect with the new Mendeley Reference Manager package?

In terms of new functionality that’s already available, two tools I’m really excited about are Mendeley Cite, as mentioned, and Mendeley Notebook – we’re hoping both will really help simplify researchers’ workflows.RNS_963_b.Cite version image

Mendeley Cite enables users to cite references and generate a bibliography, just as they could with our existing citation plugin, but as I mentioned, Mendeley Cite now works with Office 365. You also don’t have to be a Mendeley Desktop user to use Mendeley Cite – it works with your cloud library which is loaded into the add-in, so there is no need to switch between applications when citing, another feature that users were asking for a lot.

Mendeley Notebook is our brand-new note-taking tool. It’s a working space for keeping thoughts in one place, making it quick and easy to collect highlights from multiple PDFs and add you own comments. Researchers told us that they liked having highlights and annotations associated with the PDF, but that they were usually reading multiple PDFs at once and wanted their notes from all of these in one place. With Notebook they can do this.

We’ve also made the reference management experience generally more accessible and streamlined by making a lot of things just that bit better. A user’s library now automatically syncs to the cloud when they’re signed in; notifications about whether an action was successfully completed are a lot clearer; the look and feel has also been updated… And we’re continuing work on more features and functionality, which will release throughout 2019 – watch this space!

Gaby also talked about Elsevier’s commitment to source neutrality and maintenance of user control. How does the new Mendeley Reference Manager align with that?

Mendeley Reference Manager remains a place where researchers can gather papers and documents from any publisher or source. We do not give priority to Elsevier content; there’s no change there. Research support solutions of this type must remain source neutral. It’s essential for the researcher to remain unrestricted in that.

How do you feel now that the new version is out in the world?

I’m naturally excited to see the response to the new Mendeley Reference Manager. The development vision was very much informed by conversations with researchers about daily challenges. The post-release feedback on the new version is a key part of our development vision because it feeds our continuous iterative development. So, I’m excited and I know the development team are too.

And, lastly, where can people go to see all this for themselves?

The new Mendeley Reference Manager can be downloaded from www.mendeley.com/reference-management/reference-manager-beta. It’s currently in BETA, and doesn’t have all the functionality of the existing Mendeley Desktop just yet – but, as mentioned, we’ll be making releases to it every two weeks. The BETA works alongside Mendeley Desktop so you can try it out whilst still using your existing Desktop – just sign in using your Mendeley credentials and your library will sync.

You can get Mendeley Cite from Microsoft AppSource at www.mendeley.com/cite/word/install.

We’d love to get feedback on both of these to help inform future developments. So I encourage everyone to let us know their thoughts using the feedback links within Mendeley Reference Manager and Mendeley Cite. We really hope everyone enjoys using them!

Thank you very much for your time.

You can find out more about all-things Mendeley here

Meet the team: Wouter Haak

Name: Wouter Haak
Job title: VP Research Data Management

Wouter HaakWouter is responsible for research data management at Elsevier, specifically the Mendeley Data platform. This is an open ecosystem of researcher data tools: a data repository, an electronic lab notebook, a data search tool, and a data project management tool. Aside from his work for Elsevier, Wouter is part of several open data community initiatives; for example he co-chairs the RDA-WDS Scholix working group on data-article linking; he is part of the JISC Data2paper advisory board; and his group participates in the NIH Data Commons pilot project. It is all about the ‘R’ of FAIRdata: focusing on data re-use.

Prior to Elsevier, Wouter worked in online product and strategy roles. He has worked at eBay Classifieds, e.g. Marktplaats.nl, Kijiji.it – in roles varying from business development to overall responsibility for the classified’s businesses in Italy, France, Belgium and Turkey. Furthermore, he has worked for the Boston Consulting Group.

When did you join Mendeley?

2016

What do you love most about your job?

I love speaking to researchers, about their projects and visions. Going to universities and learning about the things they do, I’m proud that I can contribute a tiny piece to this amazing world.

What book did you most recently read?

I read the Cicero trilogy by Robert Harris. Amazing how something that takes place during the Roman empire is still actual today. The main character is not Cicero but his slave: Tiro. Tiro – quietly working in the background – is actually the hero of this story.

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

That Mendeley is becoming more than a reference manager. I would like to see Mendeley grow to becoming a daily virtual partner of researchers.

How would you explain your job to a stranger on a bus?

I help researchers and universities with re-using the data and measurements that they create better.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

In my direct team of about 50 people, I find it exciting that we have more than 10 nationalities. I have lost count and that is fun.

What keeps you awake at night?

Nothing keeps me awake at night. Having gone through raising young kids, I have learned that problems are best tackled during the day.

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

I learned that the European Open Science Cloud project is starting to have areas that are going to be very real and helpful for research overall. My plan is to see if we can contribute to this. Less so to the infrastructure but more likely on the ‘tools’ or ‘commons’ side.

Find out more about Mendeley Data

Find out more about all-things Mendeley