What you should know about Mendeley Open Day 2014

Whew. We’re just now recovering from the craziness that was Mendeley Open Day. While we didn’t film everything (to protect the innocent…and the not-so-innocent), you can relive, rewind, and re-watch the day via our YouTube Playlist or catch up on Tweets through our Storify.

If for some reason you decide you don’t want to watch 9 hours of video (why ever not?!), here are some of the highlights and features announced at Open Day.

Top 5 Features announced at Mendeley Open Day

1. Improved iOS speed + Android phone preview!
Steve Dennis was surprised to receive a spontaneous ovation from the audience after describing the iOS sync speed as improving 5000 percent better

You can catch his moment below (starts at 28:05) and stay tuned for the Android preview

2. Improved Web Library
Your Mendeley Library will soon be even more portable, with improved Web Library (starts at 35:36)

3. Research Data Management
Joe Shell, Senior Project Manager, shared why he thinks data is like wine, (“it gets better with age”) and his vision for seamless data management for researchers and laboratories. (starts at 1:00:00)

4. Sneak preview of your new Mendeley Profile Page
See Wah Cheng gave us a sneak preview of an updated Mendeley profile page and explained how Mendeley is creating better research work flow through improved social networking. (starts at 1:10:00)

5. Mendeley API is improving other workflow tools, including writeLaTeX

API Developer Joyce Stack shared how third-party developers are using Mendeley API to create better tools for researchers, including better .bib import to writeLaTeX, as announced Dr. John Lees-Miller

Best Talk on Researcher Workflow

One of my favourite bits was from Mendeley Advisor Vicky Pyne, who talked about how she gets things done with her system called (wait for it) “Getting Things Done.” (starts at 37:10)

There was so much more, so you really ought to watch the videos. If you tuned in already, tell us, what was your favourite bit? What are you hoping to learn more about?

Top 15 things to get excited about at Mendeley Open Day 2014

The days have flown by and now we are less than a week away from the Mendeley Open Day. The Open Day is to connect our user community, including our Advisors and Librarians, together with the Mendeley team, with a smattering of special guest speakers and hilarious entertainment for good measure. We have a packed schedule for our 1 October event, held in London.

Unable to attend in person? Tune in on 1 October at 10am BST to check out our interactive livestream and we’ll keep you in the loop. Register for reminders and your chance to *win* your own Mendeley Open Day prize pack.

You can also follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #MDOD14, or on our brand-new Instagram account.

In true clickbait-style (you’re here, aren’t you?) here are the top 15 things we’re looking forward to at Mendeley Open Day.

1. Location, location, location











You’re a rockstar in the world of research, we’re rockstars in the world of research (if we do say so ourselves), so it makes sense we have it in a rockin’ location.

2. Hangout with us LIVE!














Unable to make it to London? We’ll be streaming live with an interactive Google Hangout! Register here.


3. Roadmaps Galore!












We’re not a bunch of cats behind the wheels, we actually have plans! And we want to share them with you.

4. All things API










We just released Mendeley API Version 1, and we’re ridiculously excited about it. We’re not only hearing from our API team, but some of the third-party developers who have successfully used our API and created the apps you love.

5. Summer Video preview











To make you wish we were back in the sun.

6. Infamous Mendeley Social









Ain’t no party like a Mendeley party cause a Mendeley party don’t stop.

7. Data, Data, and more Data








That is literally the name of one of the talks. Big Data is so hot right now…plus who doesn’t get excited by data? Especially when you don’t have to process it?

(P.S. Meet our Data Science team)

8. Meet the Mendeley Team








Bouquets and Brickbats accepted.

(*Disclaimer: Bill Nye does not actually work with us, but he’s always in our hearts.)

9. Live Illustrations and a Photobooth












Warning: What happens in the photobooth does not stay in the photobooth.

10. Awesomely nerdy entertainment

helen arney









It’s a bit of a secret/surprise, but actually we TOTALLY GIVE IT AWAY IN THIS GIF, actually.

11. Networking social








Cause we can be serious at our parties too.

12. Design & Product discussions



Our Product Team is seriously cool and they’ll be talking about bringing product development from vision to reality and user-centered design. Awesome.



13. Old-school video games











Just because we’re on the forefront of technology doesn’t mean we can’t kick it old school.


14. Developer Showcase











We can’t wait to show you what folks have done with our API and what we have in store for the next few years.

15. Drinks









Also because that was my first gif-based blog post and I don’t know how those sites do it on the daily.


(all GIFs via Giphy or otherwise noted)

Congrats August Advisor of the Month — Vicky Pyne!

Congratulations and thank you to Vicky Pyne!

Vicky recently participated in a video for our Women in STEM series (you can see these stories on our YouTube channel, including some of our own Mendeley employees), and we loved her passion for the topic, both as a medical student and someone with a decade of experience of working for technology companies.

Luckily for us, she has the same passion for Mendeley!

Vicky is in her final year of medical school at the University of Bristol. “My major research days are still ahead of me,” said Vicky, who has already done several projects throughout her university career, including looking at the efficacy of bariatric surgery, the aetiology and management of a rare obstetric condition called ‘Chronic Histiocytic Intervillositis,’ and a ‘big data’ study on the performance of mature medical students as they become mature junior doctors.


Vicky Pyne

How long have you been on Mendeley?
Since my second year [of medical school] in 2011.

What were you using prior to Mendeley?
EndNote and the inbuilt MS Word References tool.

How does Mendeley influence your research?
Mendeley speeds up my research by allowing me to quickly save papers to a place where I can easily find them in the future.

It’s also made a huge difference in terms of creation of my references as well – this used to be such a headache and wasted a lot of time that could be have been spent doing more useful things to improve the quality of my work.

It’s a more subtle change but I think it’s also allowed me to review more papers simultaneously to truly integrate their messages into my own work in a way that just having the files stored on my hard-drive wouldn’t give me. Finally, I imagine its saved my printing costs as well as there’s no need to print and manually highlight stuff!

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?
When I first found the tool, it took almost no time to realise that this was going to be really useful. I thought it’d be good to be more involved in it and it’s nice to get the ‘Pro’ features for free!

How have you been spreading the word about Mendeley?
I share the link on the Facebook group for my year and always point it out to friends when our big yearly projects come around. I offer support to anyone who’s having problems – although they rarely need it!

What book are you reading at the moment and why?
I’m currently reading “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. For most of the academic year, I don’t get much chance to read for pleasure but I like to get into some books when the summer holidays come around.

Any fun fact people might be surprised to learn about you?
I started dancing at the age of 3 and almost went to stage school at the age of 11. I sometimes wonder how different my life would have been if I’d gone down that route instead!

What is the best part about being a researcher?
You find yourself asking a question and you are able to go and find out the answer – sometimes it’s rather surprising and just creates a whole set of new questions. Learning and exploring is what life is all about!

And the worst?
It can be frustrating when you can’t access a paper you need as it’s behind a paywall – I understand that journals need to make money to survive but it feels there should be another way to do this that doesn’t hinder further research.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?
That it just works. It’s simple to use and I can trust it completely. I’m not wasting time trying to learn a tool when I should be learning about my field of study.

Congrats July Advisor of the Month — Polly Compston!

Congratulations and thank you to Polly Compston!

meWe first met Polly in January when she was working to get her organization started on Mendeley. We loved her enthusiasm and encouraged her to apply to be a Mendeley Advisor.
Since then, Polly has embraced literally every aspect of the Advisor Program — writing guest blog posts, participating in beta testing, presenting Mendeley to her colleagues, and meeting with us for User Testing.

Polly is a research advisor for the Brooke, which is an NGO that aims to improve the lives of working donkeys, horses, and mules in developing countries. Suitable for a researcher who did her studies in veterinary school and spent a period of time volunteering overseas while doing a three-year residency in clinical research, earning her MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health.

Polly says working at the Brooke is a “dream job – my interest in international animal health began during my period of veterinary work abroad and this is the perfect fit of this interest and my skills as a researcher. I work alongside the vets in our country programmes to increase their research capacity and provide support throughout any research activities that they are working on.”


How long have you been on Mendeley?

About 6 months – just a newbie!
What were you using prior to Mendeley?


How does Mendeley influence your research?

It makes it much easier to share information with our overseas colleagues – we can discuss research papers over time zones and if internet connections are unreliable. It allows us to be much more collaborative as an organisation

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?

It seemed the logical decision – a central part of my role is to coordinate research resources throughout the organisation, and as Mendeley is relatively new within the Brooke we needed to develop a strategy to train everyone up.

How have you been spreading the word about Mendeley?

I am just off to Ethiopia to start the role out to our international colleagues – we are holding a workshop for the senior veterinary staff. 22 vets from 8 countries will be in attendance and I will be running an introductory session to Mendeley and we’ll discuss the best ways to use it.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

IMG_20140503_132525In Ethiopia with a Mule” by Dervla Murphy – because of my upcoming work trip to Ethiopia and the fact that it will be followed by some personal R&R that includes trekking in the mountains with a mule!

Any fun fact people might be surprised to learn about you?

– I have a three-legged cat

– I wore a builder’s hard hat as a teenager

– There are no high heels too high for me

What is the best part about being a researcher?

It’s exciting generating new information and seeing it being put into practice. One of the favourite things about my job is see other people develop their research skills – one of my favourite metaphors is that each piece of research is a brick in the wall and the researchers are the mortar that hold it together – the more people the bigger the wall can be and the better the researchers the stronger that mortar is.

And the worst?

Sometimes things take a long time. The difference in timescales between being a vet in practice, where the daily to do list is completed every day and research, which occurs over much longer periods makes it hard sometimes to feel as though you are being productive

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

Honestly – how nice the people who work there are! I think lots of people know what a useful tool it is for researchers but I have been so impressed by the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff in the London office. (Editor’s note: we’re blushing, Polly!)

Meet the Product Team!

We often have users writing to us describing Mendeley as a sort of religious experience — we see a lot of exclamation points here at Mendeley. So it may sound a bit clinical to describe Mendeley as a “product,” but everything the Product Team does here at Mendeley leads to creating the tool you know and love (exclamation points!!).

Product deals with all aspects of how you, as users, interact with Mendeley from your computer or tablet or phone. They work collaboratively with each other and with the other teams at Mendeley to create the features you love (or, perhaps, need), and ensure that they are usable.

Our Product Team is always interested to learn more about how you use Mendeley and other websites and tools. If you are in the London area at any time, email us and arrange a User Testing session — there is a pack of goodies and a gift certificate in it for you!

Matt Coulson

Senior Product Manager

Follow me on Twitter @mattcoulson72 Matt Coulson

I’ve worked in Product Management for around 12 years, including working for Messagelabs (now Symantec), Virgin Media and, for the last 6 years, at the BBC. At the BBC I led a team of 5 product managers and worked on a number of their products and services including News, Sport, Radio and Music and BBC Red Button!

How would you describe your role at Mendeley? My role is to bring a portfolio level view and agile product ownership expertise to the product team. In other words, help the product machine run that bit better and slicker. Here at Mendeley we’re entering a ‘hyper growth’ phase which means we have the amazing opportunity to build lots of cool new features that will delight our users and support our strategy. To do this we’ll need to do a number of things, but perhaps most importantly we need to invest wisely, make the right choices and trade-offs and ultimately deliver products that knock the socks off our users. My aim is to make this process better, clearer and more transparent.

What is your favourite part about working at Mendeley? I think I’d have to say the people. They are one smart and savvy bunch. Good to see so much passion for delivering top quality experiences to users as well.

What do you like to do in your free time? I like to travel, cook, walk, exercise (lightly!), game, films, gigs and reading. Sadly I can’t profess to be a part-time acrobat or other exotic pass-times but I’m open to ideas!

See Wah Cheng

Product Manager

Follow me on Twitter @seewahcheng See-Wah

I joined Mendeley as a web developer four years ago. Over my career in Mendeley, I have seen the release of many products. Gradually I picked up more insights into user experience and user needs, so I decided to take on the challenge of product management! I feel passionate about improving people’s lives through technology.

How would you describe your role at Mendeley? To transform visions into tangible features. I have mostly worked with web products. I love my role in Mendeley because it is so multi-faceted. I am involved in literally every stage of a project, from defining goals, interviewing users, through to organising and prioritizing sprint tasks. I work with data, design, technology and people! The sense of achievement when you see ideas and wireframes turning into actual products that people actually use is incredible.

What is your favourite part about working at Mendeley? Everyone here is so passionate about what we do. And more importantly, we are making the world a better place by giving researchers a helping hand!

What do you like to do in your free time? I do quite a bit of cycling and rock climbing. I am also very much into architecture and architectural history. Check it out.

Steve Dennis

Product Designer

Follow me on Twitter @subcide Steve-Dennis

Steve grew up in New Zealand, and moved to London in 2010 ‘for a bit of a change’. He’s been designing for the web for over 12 years, and has involved himself in many areas including interaction and visual design, user experience, front-end web development, and product management.

How would you describe your role at Mendeley? I am currently a Product Designer for the iOS and upcoming Android apps, though I dabble in many areas across the company.

What is your favourite part about working at Mendeley? Interacting with our users, and delivering things that solve real-world problems or pain points for them. The free food is also pretty great.

What do you like to do in your free time? Design, rock climbing, and disruptive technologies (specifically Virtual Reality and Bitcoin).

Matthew Green

Product Manager

Matt-GreenInternational Politics degree at the University of Birmingham, which led me into a career in online gaming (obviously) with Betfair. I was with Betfair for 5 years until I decided I needed a change…went off to Central & South America for a few months, came back and worked on a startup with a friend before doing some work with onefinestay.com and then finally finding my calling at mendeley.com for the last (almost) 2 years. The product was awesome, the industry was interesting and the people are great, so it’s been a good few years. In other, less interesting news, i’ve been in London since 2006 – resident solely in Northeast London until recently when i’ve taken the drastic decision to move to the up & coming Southeast.

How would you describe your role at Mendeley? I look after the institutional product offering at Mendeley (MIE) – which involves speaking to librarians, research managers & the odd researcher to find what what they want & need to support an institutional implementation of Mendeley. User adoption is key for us, and the more Institutions that adopt Mendeley the better as all their researchers get to use a premium version of our great product!

What is your favourite part about working at Mendeley? Doing something useful – it makes a big difference compared to my previous roles. I also don’t think I could ever not work next to a food market anymore…

What do you like to do in your free time? I play football for Priory Park Rangers (named after the first road I lived on when I moved to London), and cycle & run a lot…I also like to go on holiday…as much as I can…to as many places as possible 🙂

Greg Homola

UX Designer

Greg HomolaHow would you describe your role at Mendeley? My favourite part is I do not have to choose between visual and UX design. That means my role is pretty varied and I really enjoy it.

What is your favourite part about working at Mendeley? I work with amazing people both personally and professionally, and I mean it.

What do you like to do in your free time? I love spending my time with my family, travelling. Also I am a keen amateur photographer, so I can combine all these things on some lucky days. I like reading and learning and also like sports like basketball, snowboarding and others.

Andrew Officer

UX/Product Designer

Follow me on Twitter @andrewofficer AndrewOfficer

Digital product designer with a background in interaction design. Previous to Mendeley, I co-founded a web-design startup in the West Midlands, where I worked as design lead, producing the creative and front-end code for public, private and e-commerce websites. My specialities live in end-to-end product development, user-centered research, interaction design and user interface design for online digital products.

How would you describe your role at Mendeley? UX/Product hybrid. I work closely with business stakeholders, product managers, designers, developers and end-users to understand needs and influence product strategy, ensuring that the best products and features make it to the marketplace and with an optimal user experience. I’m involved in all user facing aspects of product delivery, from speaking with researchers, requirements gathering, scoping out interaction design, designing interfaces with abit of marketing thrown in.

What is your favourite part about working at Mendeley? The diversity of the role and being involved in all aspects of the business. Having the scope to work with various skillsets in areas that wouldn’t typically be under my remit. Solving difficult problems from a hugely smart and diverse audience group with differing careers levels, from a range of disciplines that have complex use cases and needs to work with. Being part of something than can ultimately change the world for the better makes the job hugely satisfying compared to other industries.

What do you like to do in your free time? In my spare time I can be found collecting and mixing records, snowboarding, DIY and enjoying the unhealthy culinary delights the world has to offer such as hamburgers, hipster beer, curried goat and ramen.

Joe Shell

Senior Product Manager — Data

Follow me on Twitter @JosephShell Joe shell

I like persistent, discoverable, reusable, sciency, webby things. Formerly of Nature.

How would you describe your role at Mendeley? I own the Mendeley Data program of projects.

What is your favourite part about working at Mendeley? It’s growing.

What do you like to do in your free time? Tarot card reading.

Meet the SysAdmin Team!

Considering that Mendeley is a software taking full advantage of the internet and cloud storage, it is impossible to underscore the importance of the SysAdmin — short for System Administration — team at Mendeley. The team is responsible for ensuring our computer systems, databases, and networks are working reliably and efficiently.

But they are far from being a “have you tried turning it off and on again” I.T. response team — the SysAdmin team is constantly working on developing and maximizing our systems, working closely with engineers and API developers, and ensuring the integrity of our data and systems.

However, it also behooves me to write nice things about them, as they are also responsible for making sure each employee at Mendeley has the correct computing tools needed to do their job — and can’t you see me with a brand-new tablet? :-p

Robin Stephenson

Vice President of Engineering

RobinBack in Elsevier after many years with intermediate experience in a variety of roles, including various other publishers, banking and transport information. Started as a Perl developer on Sun workstations; now more interested in operating Scala running in Hadoop on AWS.

1. How do you describe your role/what you do on the SysAdmin Team?
Maintain longer-term goals of the engineering team; making it work, and helping them work. Immanentising the eschaton by adopting good ideas and expunging terrible ones.

2. What is your favourite part about working for Mendeley?

An informal atmosphere, and the ability to take decisions.

3. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Cycling, learning, spending time with my family.


Kubilay Tsil Kara

Database Administrator

KubilayKubilay studied in University of Westminster, earning a Masters of Science in Database Systems, with experience in database design, data modelling and data integration between systems and applications.

1. How do you describe your role/what you do on the Syadmin Team?
Responsible for the day to day database administration, database performance tuning and data integration activities in the company.

2. What is your favourite part about working for Mendeley?
I like working in Mendeley because it uses cutting edge technology and platforms to provide its services, always trying new things and exploring methods to do things better. People working in Mendeley are very knowledgeable and innovative and there is always opportunity and time to try new things.

3. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Travelling, Cars, Fishing, ​Cinema and Chess


James Rasell

Systems Administrator

James RassellJames graduated in 2005 from Kingston University with a BSc Hons in Earth and Planetary Science and worked within the oil and hosting industries before moving to Mendeley 18 months ago.

1. How do you describe your role/what you do on the SysAdmin Team?

As a sysadmin my tasks vary from fixing printers to managing, planning, testing and conducting large scale migrations and upgrades. One of my key skills within the team is Hadoop for which I obtained my CCAH last year.

2. What is your favourite part about working for Mendeley?

I get to work with awesome and intelligent people as well as having the chances to constantly develop my knowledge.

3. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Drawing, playing bass, running, tennis, music, art, tattoos, beer, wine, travelling….(the list goes on)


Steffen Rick

Systems Administrator

photo (2)The newest member of Mendeley, Steffen Rick has been in this profession a long time. He started working right away and “I can remember the heydays of the internet, I joined pretty much at that time.” Steffen also remembers the internet bubble bursting, but is happy that both it, and he, have recovered.

Steffen has traveled to many countries and worked several places. He said he feels lucky when he answered the phone when the agency called and asked “Do you want to work for Mendeley?”

1. How do you describe your role/what you do on the SysAdmin Team?

I’m basically hired as Sysadmin, working on keeping things running, hoping I can contribute to improving it too.

2. What is your favourite part about working for Mendeley?

The proper display of attitude, software code is actually being written at this place.

3. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

All the things others enjoy too. Drinking beer, going to concerts, various forms of sport, working on becoming a FreeBSD committer.

“Education is the most powerful weapon": Congratulations June Advisor of the Month!

Congratulations and thank you to Nour Daoud!

NOUR_PROFILENour is a recent graduate from the Illinois Institute of Technology and part of IIE’s Syrian Research Consortium, which Mendeley supports. She studied Computer Science and Communication for four years in Syria, before transferring to IIT and studying Electrical Engineering. Nour interned at Goldman Sachs in summer 2013, and will begin full-time work at the firm in June 2014.

“During my two years at IIT, I had an awesome research experience in Germany through the RISE program. My project was in telecommunications. Not only did I learn so much during my project, but I also had a great time and met a lot of great minds and fun people,” said Nour.

“I would love for other people to have similar research experiences, especially people coming from areas of conflict where it can be tough to get to resources. I hope to set a good example for anyone with a similar background as me and inspire them to work hard to achieve good results in their life through research and education in general,” she added.

We are honored to support the IIE program and to recognize Nour for her achievements as a student and as a Mendeley Advisor. Learn more about Nour and her journey in this guest blog post (cross-post from “Syrian Students for a better future.”)


“Education is the most powerful weapon:*” My Journey to Illinois Institute of Technology


On September 1, 2012, I said goodbye to my family to take my flight to the US. It was my first flight ever. I was transferring to Illinois Institute of Technology from my beloved mother country, Syria. I wasn’t sure what the future had for me. I was so determined to continue my education that it never occurred to me to worry about the course work in the US. I just knew that my only option was to succeed. I was only worried about getting lost in Abu Dhabi and missing my connecting flight, considering my non-existing sense of direction. I had a bring-it-on attitude towards life and was ready for whatever was coming.

Almost 19 months later, so much has happened! I interviewed and earned an an internship at Goldman Sachs for Summer 2013; applied for and received a RISE (Research in Science and Engineering) fellowship in Germany; developed friendships with students from throughout Chicago and from all over the world – many of whom I know will be life-long friends and colleagues.

I have lived the international experience, and last but not least, I GRADUATED!

I cannot begin to describe how happy I am to be among one of the first four Syrians to graduate under the IIT-Jusoor scholarship with high academic achievements. I have definitely changed a lot during the last two years broadening and deepening my perspective of the world in all of its diversity, and complexity. I still have a great deal to learn and explore about myself and my place in this world – as well as my contributions and service – but it definitely feels awesome to have that BSc degree while doing that

None of this would have been possible without the help of Illinois Tech and Jusoor. The way they cooperated is beyond inspiring. We will be forever thankful for IIT’s effort to help students from countries of conflict, and Jusoor’s effort to help Syrians of all ages to continue their education and build their dreams wherever they find themselves in the world.

I cannot begin to describe how thankful I am for my beloved country, Syria; I am grateful for the outstanding teachers that taught me and for fifteen years of free quality education that shaped who I am today.

What’s going on in my country breaks my heart – every moment of everyday. I know that I cannot stop the conflict, but I’m going to join it with my own weapon: Education! Along with a fundamental belief in the contributions of research and applied service to one’s community.

With so many Syrians losing their chance at education, it’s our responsibility as Syrians to help each other as much as we can. Let’s bring the smiles back to our Syria and guarantee a better future, one educated Syrian at a time.

– Nour Daoud

* “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela


As part of our partnership with the Syrian Research Consortium, Mendeley created a group called Research in Conflict, where researchers, and those supporting research in areas of conflict, can share their thoughts and experiences on the subject.