Mendeley and Elsevier – here’s more info

 

Victor science
Victor Henning, Mendeley Co-Founder, speaks at the ScienceBusiness Awards 2012 in Brussels (Photo by ScienceBusiness)

The news of Mendeley joining Elsevier made some waves last week.

On Twitter, with typical understatement, it was compared to the Rebel Alliance joining the Galactic Empire, to peasants posing as a human shield for Kim Jong-Un, and to Austin Powers teaming up with Dr Evil.

It’s true that, when I was 13, I played through X-Wingon my Amstrad 486 PC, then had fun playing an Empire pilot in the TIE Fighter sequel — and I’m also half Korean. So while my colleagues are busy mounting the frickin’ laser beams onto the heads of the sharks we brought in to replace our foosball table, I thought I would address some of the other concerns and questions that were raised.

What is the “real” reason for Elsevier acquiring Mendeley?

The question that emerged most frequently, sometimes in the tone of conspiratorial whispers, was about the “real” reason Elsevier acquired Mendeley. Surely there must be a man behind the curtain with a devious masterplan? Not quite. In my mind, it’s straightforward: Elsevier is in the business of providing scientific information to the academic community. In order to serve academics better, it acquired one of the best tools for managing and sharing scientific information. Elsevier can now provide its customers with solutions along the entire academic workflow: Content discovery & access, knowledge management & collaboration, and publication & dissemination. Mendeley provides the missing link in the middle, and brings Elsevier closer to its customers. This makes intuitive sense to me, and I hope you can see the rationale, too.

But what will Elsevier do with Mendeley’s data?

Some people voiced concerns that Elsevier wanted Mendeley’s data to clamp down on sharing or collaboration, sell the data on in a way that infringes our users’ privacy, or use it against them somehow. We will not do any of those things. Since the announcement, we have already upgraded our Mendeley Advisors to free Team Accounts, and are currently reviewing how we can make collaboration and sharing easier for everyone on Mendeley. Also, I want to be clear that we would never pass on our users’ personal data to third parties, or enable third parties to use our users’ data against them.

Of course, Mendeley’s data does have commercial value. Even before the Elsevier acquisition, Mendeley was “selling user data” — but in an aggregate, anonymized fashion – to university libraries: The Mendeley Institutional Edition (MIE) dashboard contains non-personal information about which journals are being read the most by an institution’s faculty and students. Librarians use this information to make better journal subscription decisions on behalf of their researchers, and more than 20 leading research institutions in North America, Europe, and Asia have signed up since its launch last summer.

Mendeley’s Open API also offers aggregate, anonymized usage data, though on a global rather than institutional basis. Mendeley gives this data away for free under a Creative Commons CC-BY license. It’s being used by tools like ImpactStory.org or Altmetrics.com, which are building business models around altmetrics data. Again, you could argue that Mendeley’s usage data is being “sold”, and even sold by third parties. However, as you can see, the general principle is that the data is used only for positive purposes, like analyzing research trends and scholarly impact, without violating the privacy of Mendeley users. That’s how we will keep it in the future, and this applies to any usage of the data by Elsevier or via our Open API.

So how will Elsevier make money off Mendeley?

The existing Mendeley offering will continue to be free, so that we can continue to grow our user base as we have in the past, and we will also integrate Mendeley into Elsevier’s existing offerings like ScienceDirect or Scopus to increase their value. This actually means that we’re now under less short term pressure to monetize Mendeley’s individual users. When we were an independent start-up, we had to think about charging for every new or additional feature, in order to get to break even. Now, we can think more about the long term again.

For example, this enabled us to double our users’ storage space for free immediately after the Elsevier announcement. We had previously also planned to make the sync of highlights & annotations in our forthcoming new iOS app a premium feature – today, we decided instead that it will be free for all users, and thus also free for all third-party app developers to implement. And, as mentioned above, we are currently reviewing our collaboration features to see if we can expand them for free, too.

Lastly, what does your new role in the strategy team at Elsevier mean in practice?

Along with the Elsevier news last week, it was announced that I would – in addition to my role at Mendeley – be joining the Elsevier strategy team as a VP of Strategy. A number of our users and Mendeley Advisors have asked what this will mean in practice, and how my input would be taken onboard.

I’ve been in Amsterdam this week to meet some of my new colleagues and exchange ideas — it’s been genuinely enjoyable and inspiring, so we’re off to a very promising start. I’ve been asked to support them in sharing not just Mendeley’s features, but also Mendeley’s experiences and user-centric values with the Elsevier organization, and to keep pushing the ideas that have made Mendeley successful. Conversely, I will also work on how to best bring Elsevier’s tools, data, and content onto the Mendeley development roadmap and into our users’ daily workflow.

We’re not short of amazing ideas, and you have shared some really exciting suggestions with us as well – the challenge will be to pick the best ones and actually get them done. As always, we will be listening closely to your feedback on how to improve our products and set our development roadmap. Watch this space!

 

Team Mendeley is joining Elsevier. Good things are about to happen!

Today we are excited to announce that Mendeley is joining Elsevier!

Team-Photo-560px

You might already have heard some rumors and speculation about this in the past few weeks. We hope you’ll understand that we couldn’t address the rumors head-on until there was some actual news to share with you. Now that the union is official, we would like to take some time to explain how it will benefit Mendeley’s and Elsevier’s users, the research community in general, as well as address some of the questions you may have.

The most important things first: very little will change for you as a Mendeley user. In fact, Mendeley is only going to get better for you. For starters, we are doubling everyone’s storage space at no cost. Your free Mendeley account now comes with 2GB, Mendeley Plus and MIE accounts get upgraded to 5GB, and Mendeley Pro accounts to 10GB. There will always be a free version of Mendeley, and our functionality will continue to improve, now even faster than before. We will focus on what has made Mendeley a success in the first place: ensuring that everything we do makes our users’ lives easier and listening closely to your needs. Your data will still be owned by you, we will continue to support standard and open data formats for import and export to ensure that data portability, and – as explained recently – we will invest heavily in our Open API, which will further evolve as a treasure trove of openly licensed research data. Our vision continues to be to make science more collaborative and open, and now we will work towards this vision with the support of the world’s largest science publisher.

Elsevier’s resources, partnerships, and reach in the academic, library, and professional community will enable us to accelerate our progress towards our vision. Our team will expand significantly over the next few years. Elsevier’s Scopus and ScienceDirect platforms will become seamlessly interoperable with Mendeley, creating a central discovery, workflow, and collaboration network for the global research community. Here’s Elsevier’s comments about what they expect from the partnership.

On a more personal note, let me also explain why we chose to team up with Elsevier at this point. Mendeley had just raised a significant round of funding from existing and new investors, with more investors wanting to join. Also, Mendeley’s revenues from our individual and team premium accounts, as well as our new Mendeley Institutional Edition, had tripled over the past year. We could have continued on our path independently, yet we felt that the opportunity to give our users access to better content, more data, and faster development was just too exciting to pass up.

Of course, we are aware that – especially in the past year – the academic community has criticized Elsevier for some of its policies and positions. Our own relationship with Elsevier has been conflicted at times. Elsevier is a multi-faceted company with over 7000 employees, so it is impossible to put them into a single box. We were being challenged by some parts of the organization over whether we intended to undermine journal publishers (which was never the case), while other parts of the organization were building successful working relationships with us and even helped to promote Mendeley.

For example, when Elsevier decided to shut down its social bookmarking service, the 2collab team collaborated with us to build a data import tool, then recommended their users to migrate to us, the upstart competitor. When we co-hosted (together with Nature Publishing Group and the British Library) the Science Online London Conference to talk about Open Science, Elsevier was one of our first sponsors. And when we launched our Open API, Elsevier was the first major publisher to embrace our data and build a Mendeley Readership App for their application platform.

Time and time again, Elsevier struck us as one of the most innovative and tech-savvy publishers out there. They have launched challenges to make research papers more interactive and useful, improve the process and incentives of peer review, and build knowledge discovery and visualization tools for the life sciences. They provide tools for exploring and unearthing connections between researchers and contribute to the ORCID author profile initiative. Like us, the Elsevier Labs team is researching semantics, taxonomies, natural language processing, data visualization, and big data analytics. Lastly, Elsevier’s applications platform mirrors our own ambition of enabling developers to create unique new research tools.

Elsevier is a large, complex organization – to say the least! While not all of its moves or business models have been universally embraced, it is also a hugely relevant, dynamic force in global publishing and research. More importantly, we have found that the individual team members – the employees, editors, innovators, and tool developers we’ve worked with – all share our genuine desire to advance science. This is why we’re thrilled to join Elsevier and help shape its future.

In sum, the overlap between Elsevier’s and our vision has always been remarkable. Combining Elsevier’s content, analytics tools, and long-standing publisher/society relationships with Mendeley’s collaboration platform and social data will enable both of us to develop amazing new services that will make your research life easier.

I know you’ll have a lot of questions, so please find some additional information here. If you’re still skeptical about whether this will be a good thing for you as a user, we hope to convince you by our actions over the next few weeks and months. Good things are about to happen!

Thank you for all of your support, and thanks especially to our incredible team of Mendeley Advisors!

Jan, Paul, Victor, and Team Mendeley

Mendeley has two million users! To celebrate, we're releasing the Global Research Report

As of today, Mendeley has two million users! To mark the occasion, we have published the Global Research Report a unique analysis of two million scholars’ research activity in relation to economic indicators and research productivity. The Global Research Report draws on the unique usage statistics of Mendeley’s desktop- and cloud-based research collaboration platform, which is used by academics in the sciences and humanities in over 180 countries to manage their research workflows.Read More »

Mendeley handles 100 million calls for Open Science, per month

Imagine the rich ecosystem of third-party Facebook and Twitter apps, now emerging in the domain of science. More than 240 applications for research collaboration, measurement, visualization, semantic markup, and discovery – all of which have been developed in the past year – receive a constant flow of data from Mendeley. Today, Mendeley announced that the number of queries to its database (termed “API calls”) from those external applications had surpassed 100 million per month.

Akin to a “Wikipedia for academic data”, the information fueling this ecosystem has been crowdsourced by the scientific community itself. Using Mendeley’s suite of document management and collaboration tools, in just three years its global community of 1.9 million researchers has created a shared database containing 65 million unique documents and covering – according to recent studies – 97.2% to 99.5% of all research articles published. Commercial databases by Thomson Reuters and Elseviers contain 49 million and 47 million unique documents respectively, but access to their databases is licensed to universities for tens of thousands of dollars per year.

In contrast, Mendeley’s database is freely accessible under a Creative Commons license, and it is the only one that allows third-party developers to build their own tools with the research data anywhere on the web, on mobile devices, or on the desktop. Moreover, because Mendeley’s data is crowdsourced, it has a unique social layer: Each document comes with anonymized real-time information about the academic status, field of research, current interests, location of, and keywords generated by its readers. Mendeley’s API also adds information about related research documents and public groups on Mendeley that the document is being discussed in.

The most popular apps built on Mendeley’s platform fulfill academia’s need for faster and more granular metrics of scientific impact: ReaderMeter.org and Total-Impact.org display a researcher’s or a labs’ real-time impact on the academic community, while Mendeley itself recently announced the first sales of its real-time research impact dashboard to academic institutions around the globe. Hojoki pulls updates from Mendeley and other productivity tools like Evernote and Basecamp into a common newsfeed. Kleenk allows users to create free-form semantic links between documents in their Mendeley library and share them publicly. OpenSNP, winner of Mendeley’s $10,001 Binary Battle prize, makes the connection between raw genetic data and published research.

Bastian Greshake, co-founder of openSNP, explained: “We started openSNP to crowdsource the discovery of genotype-phenotype associations. In less than a year, our users have uploaded over 200 genetic testing results and more than 3400 phenotypic annotations for over 100 different genetically influenced traits, which is a great success. Mendeley’s API enables our users to find the latest scientific literature – including thousands of Open Access articles – relevant to their own genetic testing results.”

Dario Taraborelli, Senior Research Analyst at the Wikimedia Foundation and creator of ReaderMeter.org, said: “By sharing a large corpus of open-licensed data, Mendeley is laying the foundation for a whole new science of the making and spreading of scientific knowledge. This offers coders and researchers alike an unprecedented opportunity to map and measure the real-time impact of scientific research. Mendeley’s API is a mountain of data just waiting to be mined.” Jason Priem and Heather Piwowar, co-founders of Total-Impact.org, added: “Using Mendeley’s data, we can show how papers are making a difference long before they show up in the citation record, as well as which papers are making a difference to student readers, or readers in developing countries. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without Mendeley’s commitment to releasing this data openly, under the CC-BY license.  A lot of us in the Open Science community are convinced that the we’re on the way to a system built on this kind of openness. In the future, researchers will interact with the literature via a web of interlocking, third-party applications for sorting, filtering, and conversing. By opening its valuable data to developers, Mendeley is helping us get there, today.”

Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media and also a Mendeley Binary Battle judge, added: “This milestone shows how the future of science is being built, app by app, data source by data source. Open data is the biggest science story of the 21st century.”

Dr. Victor Henning, CEO & Co-Founder of Mendeley, said: “Our vision was always to make science more open. The Mendeley API liberates data that has been locked behind paywalls for decades – enabling app developers to reinvent academic workflows, research data discovery, even scientific publishing. Max Planck said: Science progresses funeral by funeral. I think we’ve found a better method.”

Mendeley API graphs and app screenshots:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mendeley/sets/72157631195319638/

Leading universities adopt Mendeley data to accelerate research analytics by 3 years

This week, leading academic institutions in North America, Europe, and Asia signed up to Mendeley’s new data dashboard, the Mendeley Institutional Edition. The dashboard analyses their research activity and impact on the global research community in real time – down from the 3-5 year time lag of the “Impact Factor”, the current gold standard for such evaluations. This allows academic institutions to react faster to their faculty’s research needs and provide them with quicker, more personalised support during the research process – thus accelerating the pace of scientific discovery for all of us.

Readership statitics in Mendeley Institutional EditionThe Impact Factor, a measure of the number of citations an academic journal receives, is a pivotal metric of science: Academics have to publish in high-Impact Factor journals to receive promotions, tenure, or grant funding, and universities allocate their million-dollar library budgets to those same high-Impact Factor journals. This is despite the Impact Factor’s many known flaws – the most limiting of which is that the citations it is based on take 3-5 years to accumulate.

This week’s release of Mendeley’s Institutional Edition, distributed by leading Dutch library subscriptions agent Swets, brings research impact measurement to real-time speed, while also providing more granular and social metrics of how academic research is consumed, discussed, and annotated. It allows research institutions to see detailed analytics of the journals their academics are reading, the journals they are publishing in, and how many readers those publications have. This data is built on Mendeley’s global research community of more than 1.8 million academics who are using the startup’s tools for document management, discovery, and collaboration.

The first customers of Mendeley’s data dashboard are premier international research institutions: Two prominent universities on the East Coast and in the Bay Area, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Nevada, Reno, the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council Japan.

Speaking of the announcement, Dr. Tod Colegrove, Head of DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library at University of Nevada, Reno, said: “Rather than spending vast amounts of staff resources attempting to quantify usage of existing library resources – remaining largely unaware of past and present use outside of the library’s current subscribed offerings – Mendeley offers a unique and immediate lens into the library’s researchers’ information behaviours. Purchase decisions can be informed directly by past and present actual use of potential library resources, rather than being left to the increasingly less relevant the-way-we’ve-always-done–it model of serials management.” His colleague Lisa Kurt added: “The collaborative nature of Mendeley is a game changer for our institution where departments and colleges are working to break through their silos and focus on the best parts of the work they do. Mendeley is solving a very real problem in a rather elegant way.”

At the University of Western Ontario, Head Librarian Joyce Garnett commented: “Western Libraries is proud to be an early adopter of Mendeley Institutional Edition, a significant addition to our digital toolbox. It will facilitate citation management for individual researchers, collaboration for research groups, and, through its analytics capacity, enable librarians to assess the relevance and use of our collections. Mendeley is unique, growing its database organically through the choices and preferences of researchers as they create and disseminate new knowledge.”

In a bid to develop alternatives to the Impact Factor, new research metrics startups such as altmetric.com and total-impact.org have already turned to Mendeley’s readership data, and several peer-reviewed studies have recently highlighted its positive correlation with the Impact Factor. Dr. Victor Henning, CEO and co-founder of Mendeley, said: “I’m excited that after receiving scientific validation from the research community, our data is now helping some of the world’s best universities work more efficiently and get to life-changing discoveries faster. My inner nerd is going: Wow, this is freaking amazing.”

Mendeley Institutional Edition screenshots: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mendeley/sets/72157630651813190/

Ian Mulvany is joining Mendeley!

We’re delighted to announce a brilliant addition to Team Mendeley – Ian Mulvany! At Nature Publishing Group, Ian was the product manager responsible for both Connotea (Nature’s social bookmarking service) and Nature Network (an academic social network/blogging platform). We had bumped into Ian at various events and conferences, and each time, we were excited and inspired by his thoughts about the future of scientific collaboration, communication, and publishing. It got to the point that we simply couldn’t resist trying to get him on our team – and I’m extremely happy to say we succeeded: Next Monday, Ian will become our VP of New Product Development! Hell yes.

So, over to Ian:

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At the heart of the academic literature are conversations about how we understand the world.  The content and context of what researchers in the academy do is fundamentally important in constructing what it is to be human. The advent of a deeply interconnected world, and the growth of academic output has, unsurprisingly, led to a situation where it becomes difficult to get a clear understanding, or even a clear picture, of the diversity of what we know about the world. Though advances in communication have led us to this place of over-saturation, tools that help us manage and work our way through all of the information available to us have been slow to emerge.

Mendeley has made real progress in creating tools that can help researchers both manage, and make sense of what is going on in the literature. When I was approached by Jan, Victor and Paul I was impressed by what they had achieved so far, and even more impressed by what their future plans are. They have assembled an amazing team, and I see a great opportunity to work with them to make a positive impact on the daily life of people working with academic literature.

In my career to date I have worked for scientific publishers, first at Springer, and then at Nature Publishing Group. I’ve been fortunate to work closely with communities of scientists, to work with great people in the publishing industry, and to help build some pretty interesting things. A consideration, though, has often been on trying to understand how these tools can fit within the framework of existing publishing business models.

By moving to a start-up company, focussed on just doing one thing, and doing it really well, I see a chance to work on rapidly producing tools that innovate not only in what they offer, but also in the business models that support them. Those are some of the reasons (did I mention the amazing team already?) that I’m absolutely delighted that I will be joining Mendeley full time from Monday the the 28th of June.

Mendeley v0.9.6.1 released

We’re happy to announce several new features and important upgrades in this latest release. The most important ones are:

Bibliography generator plugin for Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac:

bibliography-generator

This has been one of the most frequently requested features by our Mac users – now it’s here! Therefore, bibliography creation is now supported in Word and OpenOffice on all three platforms (Win, Mac and Linux). It’s just the first iteration, so we’ll continue to work on it and add more functionality. Please let us know what you think at http://feedback.mendeley.com.

Collaborative PDF annotation using sticky notes and highlights:

annotationsync

This has been a repeated request by research groups, labs and departments using Mendeley. PDF sticky notes and highlights are now synced with Mendeley Web, meaning that in Shared Collections you can now see each of your colleagues’ annotations separately and color-coded. In addition, there’s a major upgrade to the PDF viewer – it will now render the displayed PDF document instantly, no more pre-caching!

XMP metadata now extracted from PDFs:

This is a behind-the-scenes upgrade – Mendeley will now read embedded XMP metadata from PDFs where available (Nature and Elsevier journals, among others, now provide this routinely), boosting the metadata extraction quality. Even where there is no embedded XMP metadata, the algorithms for detecting authors and titles have also been improved.

Because of necessary changes to our server architecture, older Mendeley Desktop versions are required to upgrade to this latest beta version to continue using Mendeley’s online features – we’ll try not to make a habit of doing this.

Here is the full list of improvements and bug fixes:

New features
  • PDF annotations are now synchronized with Mendeley Web. In shared collections multiple users can add notes or highlights to documents.
  • Added an importer for Ovid Reprints/Medlars format files.
  • PDF import will make use of embedded XMP metadata if it is present and appears to be accurate.
  • (Mac) First version of Mac Word plugin. Please note: Currently the Mac Word plugin supports Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac. Word 2004 and earlier are not yet supported.
Improvements to existing features
  • Added keyboard shortcuts for selecting, highlighting and adding notes.
  • Newly imported documents are highlighted after import.
  • The updater will now ask for the administrator password if necessary during update installation on Linux and Mac.
  • Added ‘Copy LaTeX Citation’ action to documents list right-click menu.
  • Improvements to accuracy of automated author and title extraction from PDFs.
  • Add the ability to drag-and-drop any file type into Mendeley Desktop. If the file type is not supported by one of the importers then a new document is created with the file attached.
  • Smoother scrolling in PDF viewer.
  • ‘Search by Title’ and DOI lookups will now retain the full names of authors if the lookup comes back with only initials if the initials and the full names agree.
Bug fixes
  • Fixed a recent problem with links between new documents and file attachments being lost for some users when syncing and a message warning that recently synced documents had been deleted on Mendeley Web.
  • Fixed crashes when exiting full-screen mode in PDF viewer.
  • Fixed red border around PDF content on PowerPC Macs.
  • Fixed local library data not being migrated correctly when changing email address in Mendeley Desktop.
  • Added additional verification of backups before restoring to web in the ‘Restore Backup’ feature.
  • File space usage shown in Preferences dialog did not update after syncing.
  • Incorrect progress messages were shown in the status bar when importing a PDF.
  • Fixed problem where starting a ‘Search by Title’ lookup for one document and then switching to another document before the results came back would apply the changes to the wrong document.
  • Fixed crash when performing DOI lookups in ‘Add New Document’ dialog.
  • The PDF viewer no longer creates temporary copies of opened PDF files on disk.
  • Fixed problem where only the first page of certain multi-page PDFs were shown in the viewer.
  • Fixed problem where search in a PDF viewer tab would not find matches on the last page of the PDF.
  • Fixed file organiser renaming failing on Windows for documents where the title, authors or publication name contained double quotes.
  • If uploading a file to Mendeley Web fails because the file is too large, the sync now continues uploading other attachments.
  • Fixed a problem which could cause Mendeley Desktop to loop continuously during sync.
  • Fixed PARSEFAILED error when syncing if certain characters appeared in imported documents.
  • Fixed long delay when opening the citation style browser.
  • Fixed long delay when opening the Tools -> Options menu on some systems.
  • Fixed incorrect documents being shown when searching for certain tags.
  • Fixed error about LinkToMendeleyVba.dll not being found on some Windows systems.
  • Fixed various crashes when syncing after removing shared collections on the web.
Feedback and Support

If you have suggestions for improvements please let us know by visiting the feedback forum at http://feedback.mendeley.com. If you encounter any problems using Mendeley or have questions to ask please e-mail support@mendeley.com. Thanks!