Mendeley hosts a Hack Day aimed at making Mendeley Datasets accessible by FAIR
Earlier this year we launched Mendeley Data, an open data repository where researchers from all disciplines can deposit their datasets. Because we want to support all fields of science, we allow all file formats, and are flexible in the kinds of metadata researchers have to provide. However, we still want to ensure that it is easy for others to find the data, access the data, and work with the data.
That’s where FAIR comes in. FAIR stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable and is an approach for data developed since January 2014 by a wide range of scientific and research data organisations including the Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences (DTL), and which Elsevier and Mendeley and others support strongly.
In the FAIR Data approach, data should be:
Easy to find by both humans and computer systems, with metadata that allow the discovery of interesting datasets;
Stored for long term such that they can be easily accessed and/or downloaded with well-defined license and access conditions, whether at the level of metadata, or at the level of the actual data content;
Ready to be combined with other datasets by humans as well as computer systems;
Ready to be used for future research and to be processed further using computational methods.
Community organizations and funding agencies are starting to recognize the importance of data being FAIR; for example the European Commission is providing researchers that receive funding through Horizon2020 with FAIR data management guidelines.
Mendeley Data wants to support researchers making their data available in a FAIR manner and so we’re delighted to be able to collaborate with the DTL, who are developing FAIR tools.
Hacking the data
Last Friday developers from DTL joined the Mendeley Data developers for a Mendeley hack day. The goal for the hack day was to extend Mendeley Data API, to be able to expose the FAIR metadata, which allows researchers to discover datasets in Mendeley Data based on detailed metadata attributes.
The end goal is that a researcher using a FAIR-enabled tool can carry out a detailed search operation (for example search for datasets about a particular disease condition) and find relevant results from a range of repositories, including Mendeley Data.
In order to enable this, ultimately, we need to create an endpoint which exposes detailed metadata for our datasets. We knew this would be a tall order for our hack day, so we created a proof-of-concept endpoint which exposed this metadata for some static/hardcoded instances of collections and datasets.
This was enough to show the FAIR Data Point in action, starting off accessing Mendeley Data, and then drilling down into these example catalogues and from there finding the example datasets.
By the end of the hack day we had:
Mapped our datasets’ metadata to the FAIR metadata layers of the FAIR Data Point, including W3C’s DCAT spec;
Implemented the proof-of-concept FAIR Data Point-compatible endpoint providing metadata which can be consumed by FAIR-enabled tools;
Demoed the Mendeley Data FAIR Data Point in action, navigating through the layers of FAIR metadata including the data repository (Mendeley Data), catalogue, datasets and data files.
The outcomes of the hack day were: a much better understanding of how to make our datasets available as FAIR resources, so they can be found, integrated and reused by researchers along with other FAIR datasets; and creation of an endpoint which is only a few steps away from being productionised and available to use by the community.
We really enjoyed working closely with Luiz, DTL’s CTO, and developers Rajaram and Kees to concretely and tangibly make progress towards making Mendeley Data datasets more findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable!
Today is Ada Lovelace Day! Today we, along with the rest of the world, honor the world’s first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace. It is a day to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women in STEM fields.
For today only (Tuesday, 11 October), we are giving away a limited edition of our Women in STEM poster, by artist and scientist Claudia Stocker. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will mail you the poster, anywhere* in the world. Please include your full name, mailing address, and phone number in the email, otherwise we can not send your poster. Entries accepted until the end of day (which is actually 11:00 GMT on 12 October, to accommodate the whole globe!)
We’re participating online, with short videos highlighting women in STEM careers who work with us at Mendeley, in hopes of being role models to encourage more girls to go into STEM careers. Follow our Twitter and Facebook and see what others are sharing under #ALD16.
Liked our short videos and want to see more? Check out our more in-depth Women in STEM series on YouTube:
*We will do our best to send it to your country. Occasionally, we have issues with customs in certain countries.
We’re happy and proud to sponsor and contribute to Ada Lovelace Day, held annually on 11 October. Mendeley is sponsoring the Ada Lovelace Day Live!, an annual celebration of the achievements of women in STEM. Ada Lovelace was the world’s first computer programmer, and a perfect figurehead to represent women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics field.
The event features an inspiring line up of seven women from across the UK STEM world — design engineer Yewande Akinola, planetary physicist Dr Sheila Kanani, science writer Dr Kat Arney, developer Jenny Duckett, mathematician Dr Sara Santos, computational biologist Dr Bissan Al-Lazikani, and climate scientist Dr Anna Jones — each of whom will be giving a ten minute talk about their work. The evening is being compèred by the fabulous Helen Keen.
Mendeley is offering two pairs of tickets to attend this incredible event*, held this year at the IET, Savoy Place, in London at 6:30p.m. on Tuesday 11 October. This contest is now closed. Two names will be drawn at random. Want to make sure you secure your place or need more tickets? Tickets are £20 general entry and £5 concessions, and are available from Eventbrite.
We will also be participating in the worldwide celebrations by interviewing and highlighting women in STEM careers here at Mendeley! Follow our Twitter and Facebook this week and next for new contests, interesting facts and links, and brief interviews. Get a headstart with our Women in STEM series on YouTube:
*Prize is for event entry only. Contest winners are responsible for their own transportation and stay in London.
Finding the right job is important to build your expertise, further your research and get the exposure you need to develop your career. And job listings are not always about finding your next position, but keeping up-to-date in your field, or across disciplines.
Mendeley is launching a new Careers service, which will select thousands of relevant science and technology job postings from the leading job boards, academic institutions, company employers, and recruitment agencies across the world.
You will be able to search and apply for your next position on Mendeley. Sign up for email alerts tailored to your search criteria, and upload your resume to let recruiters and jobs come to you.
Mendeley Careers will also offer guides and resources to help you with your job search and to develop your career further.
Watch for Mendeley Careers launching in October.
We are interested to learn from you about your interest in seeking job and funding opportunities via the Mendeley network. So whether you’re actively seeking or just keeping your options open, check out these opportunities, and let us know what you think in the comments below!
Congratulations and thank you to Duncan Casey! Duncan is one of the Mendeley Advisors who showcased his research work through a hands-on demonstration at Mendeley’s booth at New Scientist Live! Duncan and his colleagues from Imperial College brought along their laser tractor beam and challenged attendees to race a polystyrene ball around a track! Yes, we said tractor beam.
While at New Scientist Live, Duncan also helped answer questions about science, which we posted on Twitter under the hashtag #MendeleyWall, and appeared on BBC Radio 5 answering callers’ questions live at New Scientist Live!
Learn more about Duncan and why he thinks Mendeley is great even for technophobes:
How did you get into your field and what is your research story?
Mine’s been less a career path and more a random walk. I started out my scientific career expecting to be a drug development chemist but once I actually got to try it, I found I didn’t like it much. From there, I started investigating drug transport around the body, ended up developing techniques and tools to analyse cell membranes and almost accidentally picked up some experience in laser optics along the way. My research now revolves around mixing the three skill-sets together – in using lasers and surface chemistry to do biology experiments on a very small scale.
Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?
Creative anarchy! When everything is working well, there’s a lot of excited shouting going on as a room full of smart people bounce ideas off each other. Some ideas are ridiculous, some are inspired, and a few are both.
How long have you been on Mendeley and what were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?
I’ve been using Mendeley since about 2008, I think – I was asked to review it for a newspaper article, and found it a huge improvement on any of the reference management platforms I’d encountered up until that point. At the time it didn’t quite do what I needed, but clearly had a lot of potential, so I got involved as an advisor and helped a little with the development and testing of Mendeley Groups.
My research involves lots of people with widely differing areas of expertise spread across several countries, and everyone’s learning at least one new science. Being able to keep a body of both our own work and a core package of reference texts in one place has helped hugely when bringing new members up to speed, while being able to discuss and debate new papers or ideas in a single platform has been a lot of help.
Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?
When I first started using Mendeley it was only really suitable for small groups of researchers – it was more a reference manager than an out-and-out collaboration tool. At the time, I was working on my Ph.D. at Imperial’s Institute of Chemical Biology, and we needed something with a bit more breadth that could handle 30-40 researchers attacking a problem at the same time. That fed into what became Mendeley Groups, and my team became the pilot project for Imperial College’s use of the system as it became an increasingly integral part of the way we worked. I now use the same system to work with my team of engineering students at LJMU, as I try to turn them into physicists and instrument designers.
What academic/researcher/librarian would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?
Richard Feynman. He was a seriously, seriously smart man with a pointy sense of humour, and a side-line playing bongo drums in strip clubs.
What book are you reading at the moment and why?
Depressingly, I’m trying to teach myself a couple of programming languages as I’m getting tired of being shown up by my students – that’s taking up a fair bit of my time. Outside of that, though, I’m slowly working my way through Jody Taylor’s novels about time-travelling historians. You wouldn’t necessarily accuse them of being high literature, but the enthusiastic chaos and cobbled-together hardware she describes makes me think she’s spent some time in academic R&D.
What is the best part about working in research?
I work in an expensive, dangerous toy shop making lasers do things they aren’t supposed to. What’s not to like? What’s really good fun is when you see something dreamt up on the back of a beer mat turning into a real experiment, instrument or product. The very best ones are those that are glaringly obvious to everyone exactly one second after you’ve made the first prototype – those are the ideas you know are going to be successful.
And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?
It’s about 99% frustration to 1 part exultation. If you aren’t comfortable with (or at least able to tolerate) really great-sounding ideas failing because of either accident, oversight or just some weird interaction with something that no-one had seen before, it’s not a game for you. When it’s good, though, it’s the best job in the world.
What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?
Just about every function it has is exactly where you’d expect to find it – someone clearly spent a lot of time and effort making the thing intuitive to use, and even my old technophobe supervisors got to grips with it pretty quickly.
Britain’s decision to leave the European Union on June 23rd has set off a political and economic earthquake. As the country struggles to discern its eventual relationship with its neighbours, so too has the scientific and research establishment been left reeling.
British universities have benefitted significantly from EU funding; according to the BBC, they receive in excess of £1 billion per year. Furthermore, thanks to the freedom of movement, EU researchers have found it easy to work in Britain and vice versa. Some scientists believe that the funding shortfall and restrictions on personnel will cripple British research; others believe that it need not hinder British science. Early indications suggest that there will be a negative effect; according to an article published in the Guardian newspaper on July 12, British researchers are already being excluded from projects: “an EU project officer recommended that a lead investigator drop all UK partners from a consortium because Britain’s share of funding could not be guaranteed. The note implied that if UK organisations remained on the project, which is due to start in January 2017, the contract signing would be delayed until Britain had agreed a fresh deal with Europe.”
There are broader implications: research in advance of the referendum indicated that its effects could reach as far as sustainable forest management policy, suggesting that without the UK, the “EU will lose impact in international negotiations on forest governance” (Winkel and Derks, 2016)
This week’s Brainstorm is asking a very straightforward question: how will Brexit affect science, not just in Britain but across the European Union? We are looking for the most cogent, thorough answer to this question. The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth $50 and a bag full of Mendeley items.
Mendeley Brainstorm: Our Brainstorms are fortnightly challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research. We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.
WINKEL, G. and DERKS, J. (2016). The nature of Brexit. How the UK exiting the European Union could affect European forest and (forest related) environmental policy. Forest Policy and Economics, 70, pp.124-127.