Jacques is a statistician at the University of Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, but he got his research start in psychology with a PhD in Research Psychology and doing Masters studies in Theology.
Before his current position, he did some other consultation work, and started working at the department of Biostatistics of the UFS in 2008—”a strange jump from research psychology, but statistics is statistics,” he said.
Jacques is also a published author…and what is the subject of one of his books? Mendeley!
We are honored Jacques has chosen to write about us, so we wanted to honor him with Advisor of the Month! Look to the Mendeley Blog for more on Jacques’ book sometime this month.
A bit about his research History
In many ways, I am just a run-of-the-mill academic. My whole academic career has been pursued at chiefly one University, and I hold degrees from only two universities, both South African. So I would not be what you might call an academic rock star (whatever that might be).
The nature of my job means that I don’t get to specialise, so my research role is supportive (statistics) in a wide variety of medical and allied disciplines.
How long have you been on Mendeley?
Just more than a year.
What were you using prior to Mendeley?
ProCite. I also toyed with EndNote.
How does Mendeley influence your research?
I can’t imagine anyone seriously considering doing research and not using software for their referencing. But what I love about Mendeley is that I now have an integrated electronic work environment where I can store my annotations (I still did my PhD in the previous millennium off of entirely paper-based reading), organise my sources, and also a means of finding literature relevant to my needs.
Why did you decide to become an Advisor?
I needed a new RMS package (see above) and so I started looking at alternatives, and pretty much settled on Mendeley. At the same time, because I am something of a resident IT specialist, people around here asked me if I would do training for them in Mendeley, and I saw that the Advisor programme would give me the support I needed to do that—and it has!
How have you been spreading the word about Mendeley?
My book! =)
I also am using opportunities to present Mendeley training here on my local campus, because if people can see what the program can do, they will be more likely to start using it and will also start telling other people about it.
I also enjoy helping other advisors on the Advisors forum, so I have that bookmarked as a start page on my browser.
What book are you reading at the moment and why?
Apart from always having to look up things in statistical reference works, I just finished Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business (you’ll be amazed at how many books there are with “The Power of Habit” in their titles). It was fascinating, and I am trying to focus on eliminating bad habits that are messing with my productivity.
Any fun fact people might be surprised to learn about you?
Researchers have non-academic lives too! I enjoy rock climbing, although at a mediocre level—I don’t get as much time to go out climbing now as when I was a student, and I have just (barely) survived my first marathon.
What is the best part about being a researcher?
I love the discovery and the variation. Each study is something new, something stimulating. Every job has its mundane tasks, but research gives me the chance to escape the drudgery.
And the worst?
I must mention two things. First, not getting enough time for my research! Second, when a submitted article is rejected. But both of those are part and parcel of the job, so one has to learn how to deal with them, instead of trying to wish them away. At least the time Mendeley saves helps with point number one!
What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?
It’s more than just a piece of Reference Management Software! I went to great pains in my book to show that even though Mendeley is currently not (in my opinion, sorry to have to say this), the best RMS program out there (although it is very good), there are more compelling reasons to use Mendeley that more than compensate for its small deficiencies in that area. Mendeley is really living up to its motto of changing the way we do research, by using researchers’ libraries to crowd-source research data. Mendeley provides a new (and I think better) way to discover and evaluate sources. And Mendeley really gets the socially-connected, multi-device milieu of the 21st Century researcher.