Academic services made easy – Mendeley integrates with Peerwith

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The very nature of research means academics become experts in their fields. But what happens when they need services outside of their field of research, such as translations or artwork for their paper or book? They rely on author services, which are often delivered by other academics; For example, by PhD students that edit papers as a freelance job. Performing these services can not only be an way to earn some extra money, it also allows people to gain experience and grow skills in effective scholarly communication.

But academics and service providers often have difficulties finding each other directly and often depend on middlemen to get the work done. This means that services are more expensive than needed, and that people most of the time have no idea who actually performs the work.

p-eerwithPeerwith wants to change this. Launched in beta in October 2015, the platform brings academics directly in contact with experts to take their academic work to the next level, increasing transparency and making these services more affordable.

Academics don’t like creating another profile on yet another platform, so Peerwith wanted to integrate with a social network that is popular with clients as well as experts. Going for Mendeley integration was the obvious choice. What we have done so far is Mendeley authentication, which means that Mendeley users can sign-in using their Mendeley username and password. In the next few weeks, we hope to allow Mendeley users to import their full Mendeley profile, allowing users to showcase their full profile on Peerwith.

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On Peerwith, clients can directly select the freelancer or supplier, assuring that the work will be done by the right expert with the right background and expertise. On Peerwith you can find experts in many areas, such as for editing and translations, artwork, statistics, to printing theses. Together clients and supplier determine the rates and terms of the project, and payment transactions are secure.

Based in Amsterdam, Peerwith was founded by Joris van Rossum, PhD and Ivo Verbeek, MSc, both with many years of experience in academic publishing, IT and product development.

We are excited with the integration with Mendeley, and warmly invite users to sign up when they need an expert to get their work to the next level, or if they want to offer their services as an expert. Simply sign-in with your Mendeley account!

 

 

 

Mendeley Data API launched!

Just over a month ago at the Mendeley Open Day, we launched Mendeley Data, and the number one requested feature has been to allow people to create and retrieve datasets via an API.

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In the spirit of this festive season, we’re offering the community a gift – now you can use a REST API to create, manage, publish and find datasets. This means anyone can integrate it with their Apps and tools. In fact the Mendeley Data website is entirely powered by the API, which means that you have access to the same API capabilities that we use to develop our web app.

If you’re interested in working with datasets via our API, you can read our documentation here. If you’re new to the Mendeley API, you can get started by visiting our developer website, where you will find information about the API including authentication, documentation and examples.

But wait, we’ve got one more festive present for you! An early adopter of the Mendeley Data API is Hivebench. Hivebench is a digital lab notebook (DLN), which helps to plan and run experiments. Thanks to the Mendeley Data API, any data or observations can easily be shared to Mendeley Data from the Mac, iPhone and iPad apps.

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This post can also be found on our Mendeley API blog feed – so head over there for more API news and updates

We’re excited to see what you will make with our API. If you have any questions, or have created something cool, let us know at api-support@mendeley.com or on Twitter.

So long Scholarley, and thank you!

Over the past year, we have made major changes to the Mendeley API. Many of these changes made existing Apps work better than before, but some required the developers of those Apps to make changes, and we’ve worked with those developers over the past year to help them make the transition.

In some cases, the developers decided not to transition, which hasn’t been the case of Scholarley. We spoke to the developer, Matthew Wardrop:

Scholarely logoMendeley is a fantastic piece of software that couples with the cloud to synchronise your entire academic paper library across multiple devices. During the early years of my PhD, I loved using Mendeley on my desktop; but also wanted a way to read those papers when I was on the go. At the time, Mendeley did not provide any mobile applications (Android or iOS), but they did have the foresight to provide an API by which all of the documents/metadata/files/etc could be accessed. Motivated by my own paper reading needs, I decided to write an App for Android tablets (and later phones), which took advantage of this API in order to have ready access to my papers when and where I needed them. Thus was Scholarley born!

Around the same time, other Mendeley Apps were being developed (such as Droideley and Referey), each excellent in their own way; but each of them did not provide the features I needed. In time, Scholarley garnered a lot of attention, and continued to accrue ever increasing numbers of users up until the release of Mendeley’s official Android App; at which time it sported more than 37,000 active users. Many features were added into Scholarley at the request of keen users, whom I thank for their enthusiasm.

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However, Scholarley was never intended to implement all of Mendeley’s features. With the time and financial budget available to me during my PhD, implementing things like synchronised annotations and in-App PDF viewing were simply not feasible. Furthermore, I always understood that Mendeley would eventually develop and release their own Android application, which in my mind would supersede what I had the resources to provide. Thus, when Mendeley announced plans to work on an Android app, I deprioritised work on Scholarley; and when Mendeley did release their App, I deactivated Scholarley for new users in the Google Play store; and updated the App description to encourage existing users to adopt the new Mendeley App. I am confident that any genuine deficiencies or shortcomings of the official App (compared to Scholarley, which had many of its own) will be worked out in the fullness of time.

Mendeley’s response to Scholarley’s existence and role has been great. Mendeley has on occassion updated or fixed problems with their API based on bugs that surfaced in Scholarley, and kept me abreast of upcoming changes; including the deprecation of the old API which Scholarley uses. While Scholarley could be updated to use the new API, I have chosen instead not to divide the user base, and to support instead the official App. The deprecation of the old API was scheduled to occur a long time ago, but when Scholarley was not going to be updated, they graciously have let the old API live on until the release of the official App; and indeed, even afterward as they grandfathered old users off Scholarley and into the official ecosystem. But the time has come.

When the old API is disabled, Scholarley will cease to synchronise with Mendeley’s servers. You may continue to use it in offline mode, but you will not be able to download new papers or upload changes to old ones. The new official App is considerably more stable than Scholarley, and already supports in-App paper reading and metadata editing; with more features coming on a regular basis. Now is the time to move over to the official Android application.

It would be remiss of me not to say, at this point, a heartfelt thank you to all those who have supported Scholarley with positive reviews, encouraging emails and/or financially. You have made the process of writing and maintaining the App enjoyable. But all good things come to an end, and the end for Scholarley has come.

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We are incredibly thankful to Matt and his Scholarley creation as it filled a void for many Mendeley users. Scholarley has now been removed from the App store and the old API endpoints it uses will soon be removed. Please head over to the Play Store to get Mendeley for Android. As always, we’d love to know what you think.

Why did we need a new API? Couldn’t we just fix up the old one?
The initial version of our API (often referred to as the OAPI) was a fantastic success, in terms of provoking interest and spawning some great clients, from mobile Mendeley clients such as Papership or Scholarley, to some great ideas that Mendeley could never exploit internally, such as openSNP or KinSync. Unfortunately, the OAPI that we had, was no longer a technology enabler. It was brittle and resistant to change with a high maintenance overhead. We could not add new features or resource strategic projects.

We wrote the new API (we recently celebrated it’s 1st anniversary) to increase security, add additional features, and link together the users, data, and apps of the existing Elsevier platforms so we can help researchers discover new research and help them with essential time consuming tasks and to increase the overall performance of the service. You can read about some of the features of version 1 here.

So we are currently embarking on decommissioning our legacy systems. We have worked closely with clients (see OAPI Blackout Testing) to ensure they have migrated onto the new API and in most cases all clients have taken the plunge and migrated.

We’re very grateful to all our API clients, new and old, past and present. If you’re interested in joining our API community, check out the Mendeley Developer Portal.

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The first year of our API!

In September 2014, after 12 months of hard work and collaboration with our partners and , our Mendeley celebrated the release of version 1 of our API. Now, we’re proudly beaming as we mark the first anniversary of the release. Today’s guest blog post comes from our API lass, Joyce Stack.

On the 18th September we will be celebrating the one year anniversary of our API. As part of this celebration, we’ve been looking back at some of our achievements over the past 12 – 18 months.

All of our existing internal clients have migrated onto the new API, and we’ve built new clients such as the new web library as well as the just recently released Android client. Additionally,we’ve embraced new clients such as Overleaf, Open Science Framework and Labfolder; all the while continuing to support the “old timers” such as PaperShip, ImpactStory and KinSync.

Unfortunately, we’ve had to some farewells in the process: Scholarly, which, for a long time, was the the unofficial Mendeley Android client,decided to not proceed and therefore did not migrate onto the new API. The developer, Matthew Wardrop originally built the app for his own personal use but now would rather use the Mendeley client. We wish him all the best and want to extend our thanks for his contribution.

Speaking of contributions, we would like to give a special mention to an ex-colleague Matt T who went on to greener pastures. We can’t thank him enough for his technical wizardry in beginning our API journey.

One a personal note, it has been a year of firsts for me. I gave my first meetup presentation, there was my first time using a microphone (still can’t believe someone let me have one), my first conferences (internal and external), and my first content panel discussion. Despite the stomach churning fear that I’ve felt for each one of these first timers; I am grateful to have had the opportunities.

The achievements of the last 12 months and beyond have been due to a massive team effort.  I would like to thank all my colleagues; the API developers, the client teams, the hack organisers and the wider development community for building great tools and Apps to help the lives of researchers. Special thanks to our community team for their constant support and a massive shout out to the wider API community at all the conferences and meetups for providing a safe and encouraging environment.

Finally, thank you to Elsevier for our kick ass new office!

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This blog post was originally posted on the Mendeley API blog, where you can read all about our API and what the API team are up to.

London Tech Week

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The London Technology Industry is booming, and recruiting the best talent out there is the biggest challenge facing any start-up. What gives you the edge when competing with the likes of Google and Facebook? What actually matters to developers?

London Technology Week is a unique festival celebrating the capitals global position as a hub of innovation and creative talent, bring together tech specialists and enthusiasts from around the world to London for such a variety of networking, social learning and business opportunities. Events will range from large conferences to smaller workshops, investor meetings, pitching competitions and hackathons, covering a variety of topics including gaming, big data, IT, wearables, education, music, sport, fashion, finance and science.

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Mendeley are taking part in two events during London Tech Week. This is your chance to get some insight into what it’s actually like to work in a fast-growing tech company, directly “from the horse’s mouth”. Our own developers will talk about why they chose to work at Mendeley, some of the cool stuff we get up to, perks, hack days, and what it’s like to work in one of the world’s most exciting tech hubs.

On the 16th we have a session with Ben Kaube (Newsflo) and Jan Reichelt (Mendeley), both founders of innovative tech companies in the research space that were acquired by the world’s largest scientific publisher, Elsevier, will be talking about their acquisition experience, the benefits and challenges of taking the acquisition exit route for your startup, as well as how new and disruptive technologies can be integrated into established industries to benefit the user.

Then on the 17th we’ll be at a Lab event aimed at Developers, Engineers, Data Scientists and anybody else who works or is interested in exploring the possibilities of the Mendeley API and working in the technology industry. The team will be around to answer any questions and tell you about the roles we’re hiring for at the moment, but we also want to hear from you, it’s very much an open forum!

We’re looking forward to see you there!

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New Android Kit Released for Mendeley API

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We have been very busy at Mendeley looking at how to improve the Developer Experience for the community that builds cool stuff on the Mendeley API.

For those who don’t know, API stands for Application Programming Interface and it’s what allows your product to talk to other products, opening up your data and functionality to outside developers.

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So far we have well over 100 active clients developing with the Mendeley API, which is not too shabby. These include Android and Kindle clients like Scholarley and KinSync, Altmetric, which tracks what people are saying about papers online, and Labfolder, an app that helps researchers organise their protocols and data.

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We want developers to make A LOT more apps for Mendeley though, so we listened to feedback and put together a new and much improved API and sleek Developer Portal, where we’re now collating a whole bunch of tools and resources to support our developer community.

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We also have a growing API Team at Mendeley including Joyce Stack, who’s dedicated to Developer Outreach. If you’re wondering what exactly that is, here’s some first-hand insight on what her job is like. Just don’t call her an Evangelist, she hates that…

The latest step in this journey was to release an SDK (That’s Software Development Kit to you and me) to make things simpler for Android developers wanting to work with Mendeley. An early public access version is now available on GitHub which provides model objects and packages and takes care of authentication.

We’ll of course be looking to improve the API  because, as any good geek knows, no code is ever finished and we know there’s a long way to go! With that in mind please send us your feedback. You can email api@mendeley.com and reach out to @mendeleyAPI on Twitter.

For  all the latest news on the API and Developer Tools, also be sure to follow the Mendeley API Blog