Supporting researchers with the new Mendeley Reference Manager

Laura ThomsonLaura Thomson, PhD, is Head of Reference Management at Mendeley. She has been with Elsevier since the start of 2015, and brings over 18 years’ experience with information products and research solutions to her role. Praised by her group for her clear vision and creative approach, she plays a key role in shaping how reference management is discussed and driven at Elsevier. With some exciting new developments happening with Mendeley’s reference management solutions, we met with her to find out more.

We recently heard from your colleague Gaby Appleton about the overall vision for Elsevier’s researcher solutions, especially Mendeley. How do Mendeley’s reference management solutions, specifically, fit within that vision?

As Gaby will have told you, the vision for Elsevier is to contribute to improving the information system supporting research. Our aim is to help researchers work even more efficiently so they can spend more time making discoveries.

That’s a statement that truly resonates with me. I started out as a biochemist and, as that career progressed, other tasks started to take over more of my time. In many ways, it stopped being fun because there was less time to do the real research.

The vision for Mendeley is to provide researchers with time-saving tools that help speed up and simplify their workflows. We want to take reference management off researchers’ minds by making all the tasks related to collecting, organizing, reading, annotating and citing as simple as possible – and key to this is the development of the new Mendeley Reference Manager.

With that guiding vision, communication with researchers must be very important to your team’s development plans.

Absolutely. The tools we offer must address challenges in researchers’ daily reality, so we are in constant communication with a range of researchers – those that use Mendeley, those that use other solutions, and those that don’t use any digital software at all to manage their references. These aren’t just casual conversations either. We have a robust user discovery program consisting of weekly sessions in which researchers test what we’re doing and give feedback.

This is an ongoing process, allowing us to provide researchers with a reference manager that not only addresses feedback gathered in the past, but also continues to develop over time with regular releases responding to feedback we continue to receive. Mendeley Reference Manager will evolve as researchers’ needs and the research landscape evolve.

Can you tell us more about the new developments you’re making with Mendeley Reference Manager?MRM image 2

In 2008, Mendeley was launched as a reference manager for researchers. Over the years, we’ve continued to develop Mendeley Desktop and the reference manager products.

More recently, though, it’s become increasingly difficult to keep developing the original Mendeley Desktop in the way we and our users need. A key element of this is how often we release a new version; with Mendeley Desktop we release four to five times a year, but with the new Mendeley Reference Manager we are releasing every two weeks. This means that we can respond faster to user feedback, and get new functionality and fixes out more regularly.

We have also built Mendeley Cite – a new citation add-in for Microsoft® Word. As with Mendeley Reference Manager, we have developed this very much in response to user feedback. For example, users have increasingly been asking for citation support in Microsoft® Office 365 but we could not offer this with the existing Mendeley citation plugin, as it’s built in VBA. We have built the new Mendeley Cite in JavaScript so users can now cite in Office 365.

Can you give us some more details about Mendeley Cite, and any other changes people can expect with the new Mendeley Reference Manager package?

In terms of new functionality that’s already available, two tools I’m really excited about are Mendeley Cite, as mentioned, and Mendeley Notebook – we’re hoping both will really help simplify researchers’ workflows.RNS_963_b.Cite version image

Mendeley Cite enables users to cite references and generate a bibliography, just as they could with our existing citation plugin, but as I mentioned, Mendeley Cite now works with Office 365. You also don’t have to be a Mendeley Desktop user to use Mendeley Cite – it works with your cloud library which is loaded into the add-in, so there is no need to switch between applications when citing, another feature that users were asking for a lot.

Mendeley Notebook is our brand-new note-taking tool. It’s a working space for keeping thoughts in one place, making it quick and easy to collect highlights from multiple PDFs and add you own comments. Researchers told us that they liked having highlights and annotations associated with the PDF, but that they were usually reading multiple PDFs at once and wanted their notes from all of these in one place. With Notebook they can do this.

We’ve also made the reference management experience generally more accessible and streamlined by making a lot of things just that bit better. A user’s library now automatically syncs to the cloud when they’re signed in; notifications about whether an action was successfully completed are a lot clearer; the look and feel has also been updated… And we’re continuing work on more features and functionality, which will release throughout 2019 – watch this space!

Gaby also talked about Elsevier’s commitment to source neutrality and maintenance of user control. How does the new Mendeley Reference Manager align with that?

Mendeley Reference Manager remains a place where researchers can gather papers and documents from any publisher or source. We do not give priority to Elsevier content; there’s no change there. Research support solutions of this type must remain source neutral. It’s essential for the researcher to remain unrestricted in that.

How do you feel now that the new version is out in the world?

I’m naturally excited to see the response to the new Mendeley Reference Manager. The development vision was very much informed by conversations with researchers about daily challenges. The post-release feedback on the new version is a key part of our development vision because it feeds our continuous iterative development. So, I’m excited and I know the development team are too.

And, lastly, where can people go to see all this for themselves?

The new Mendeley Reference Manager can be downloaded from www.mendeley.com/reference-management/reference-manager-beta. It’s currently in BETA, and doesn’t have all the functionality of the existing Mendeley Desktop just yet – but, as mentioned, we’ll be making releases to it every two weeks. The BETA works alongside Mendeley Desktop so you can try it out whilst still using your existing Desktop – just sign in using your Mendeley credentials and your library will sync.

You can get Mendeley Cite from Microsoft AppSource at www.mendeley.com/cite/word/install.

We’d love to get feedback on both of these to help inform future developments. So I encourage everyone to let us know their thoughts using the feedback links within Mendeley Reference Manager and Mendeley Cite. We really hope everyone enjoys using them!

Thank you very much for your time.

You can find out more about all-things Mendeley here

Insert references into your paper using Mendeley’s Web Library

You can now export references from your Mendeley Web Library into the Microsoft Word Citation Manager — without opening your Mendeley Desktop.

The export feature uses Microsoft Word’s built-in citation tool. This feature is only available on Windows for Word 2010 and above.

To export your references:

  1. Open your Mendeley Web Library
  2. Select the references you want to export
  3. Click on Export to MS Word, which will download an .xml file.
  4. Open Word and go to “References” and then “Manage Resources.”
  5. Browse your folder and select the .xml file. Your references will be available in Word’s Citation Manager.

mm_img_nl_201702_ms-word-citation-toolThe number of citation styles in Word are limited but you can install more styles from BibWord.
MS Word’s citation system is not the same system used by Mendeley Desktop. Using both on the same document will yield two sets of citations and two bibliographies.

Mendeley.com

Introducing the new Mendeley.com

Mendeley.com
The new Mendeley.com

It’s here! We’re proud to unveil the new Mendeley.com!

The new website has a clean new design, makes it easy to find all the ways in which Mendeley can help you as an academic, and helps bring our homepage into line with the fresh designs once you log into your Mendeley account.

“We wanted to update the site and improve the overall visual language, layout and navigation to make it more consistent with our other apps as well as easier for users to navigate and use,” said Matt Coulson, Head of Product. “We also wanted to use it as an opportunity to bring the information on all our products, including recently released features, bang up to date.”

How we designed our website for you, our users

User-centered design is a major part of our design process here at Mendeley, and the website was no different.

Miklos Petravich, Senior UX Designer and lead design on the homepage project, met regularly with users to ensure the website met their needs.

“We got feedback on our initial designs for our homepage where we found out while most people like the clean minimalistic direction but in the early mockups we featured inspirational messages,” said Petravich.
“Through User Discovery, we learned our users are straight-talking, straight to the point,” he said. “We originally thought inspirational messages would be interesting but we listened and learned that this is not what our users want, they want information like a list of features.”

mendeley-home-inspirational-1
Inspirational messages test design

The new website also allows us to show all the exciting new tools and products we’ve been developing to help researchers.

“We were trying to find a balance between what Mendeley is still known best for — reference manager — and how researchers can discover the tools that Mendeley now has for collaboration and showcasing the impact of their own research,” Petravich said.

What’s Next?

Not everything we changed is about design, however. “We wanted to make it easier for our in-house teams to manage the website,” said Coulson. Behind our shiny new facade is an updated content management system.  “This makes it very straightforward to make additions or amendments to the new site without writing a line of code,” he said.

Our plans for the new website are to bring you fresher content and quick updates —information that should not only help new users discover Mendeley, but also help current users find information easier. In the future, we’re going to have a review of all the content on our site and update the information, and we’re going to continue to incorporate more of your feedback.

If you live and work, or even if you are visiting the London area, we’d love to have you in for a User Discovery session. The one-hour sessions are held at our offices in Finsbury Square, and we’ll not only give you a tour of our cool space, but also send you away with a bag of Mendeley goodies and a £50 Amazon* gift card.

And, let us know what you think about the new design in the comments section below!
*If you do not want an Amazon gift card, we will work with you to find a suitable, non-cash alternative.

Stats is becoming part of your Mendeley profile

stats

Stats is changing from being a private dashboard (only you can see) to being a part of your profile so that, as well as showcasing your work, your profile also shows the exposure and impact your work is having.

The features currently shown on the stats overview page will be shown in a tab in the profile: aggregated publication metrics (h-index, views, citations, readers), aggregated view and citation timeline and media mentions.

Your profile will show a single list of all your publications, where:
• you control which publications are showcased to viewers of your profile;
• we show you (and only you) a detailed view of the impact each of your publications is having individually.

Just like now, you control who sees your profile, and this will include your new stats tab. Your profile is public by default, with an option to make visible to only your followers, and an additional option to restrict your followers to only those you give permission to.

Introducing Elsevier DataSearch

Elsevier takes the next step in making researchers’ lives easier with the new DataSearch engine.  You can search for research data across numerous domains and various types, from a host of domain-specific and cross-domain data repositories. It’s available at (https://datasearch.elsevier.com/) – please join our User Panel to help improve it!

More Focused Searching

Mass search engines are ubiquitous and useful; however, when it comes to specific information tailored to the needs of the modern researcher, a more focused application is required.  In response to this need, Elsevier has created DataSearch.  Drawing on reputable repositories of information across the internet, researchers can readily find the data sets they need to accelerate their work.

DataSearch offers a new and innovative approach.  Most search engines don’t actively involve their users in making them better; we invite you, the user, to join our User Panel and advise how we can improve the results.  We are looking for users in a variety of fields, no technical expertise is required (though welcomed).  In order to join us, visit https://datasearch.elsevier.com and click on the button marked “Join Our User Panel”. Please detail in your e-mail the following:

  • Your Name
  • Institution
  • Research Interests

We look forward to working with you and improving the research experience.

A Rainbow of annotations: Colored highlighting is here!

Colored_highlighting

 

Your results may be black and white, but your research doesn’t have to be! Mendeley now features the ability to annotate in multiple colors! How many colors? Eight different colors! Create a rainbow of annotations in your PDFs and sticky notes.

Though the bright burst of color is the one you will likely notice first, we’ve also made other changes to your reference manager to make your annotation experience quicker and more intuitive. Menus will appear at your finger tips as texts or annotations are selected, and we also added some organizing capabilities to your Web Library, with the ability to Drag ‘n’ Drop documents and folders into other folders.

The features are live as of now, so if you’re not yet seeing them, be sure you restart your application while connected to the internet, and ensure you have the latest version of Mendeley (iOS 2.90, Desktop 1.16, Android 1.8.2)

Let us know what you think in the comments here, or Tweet us, or write a post on our Facebook wall.

 

 

So why does my Mendeley Newsfeed look like this?

newfeed

Welcome! Perhaps you’ve come to this post because you are a loyal follower of the Mendeley Blog. But more likely you are seeing this because it is showing in your new Mendeley Newsfeed. So what’s changed, besides the look, and why?

While research hasn’t changed in its essentials, how we keep track of what is happening in our fields is always evolving, and Mendeley is evolving with it. Your new Mendeley Newsfeed is a curated way to keep updated about your field and about the world of research.

Your Newsfeed is your window into your network, covering moments like:

  • When documents are added to one of your groups
  • Changes to the position or institution of people you follow
  • When someone you follow adds a new personal publication
  • Tailored article recommendations from Mendeley Suggest, based on last read and trending in your discipline
  • Updates to the Mendeley Blog
  • If someone you follow has followed someone else

You can now share new publication updates, documents added to a public group and your personalized document recommendations with your followers, so if you see something useful, you can draw other people’s attention to it.

This is just the first step we are taking in making sure Mendeley is showing you a variety of interesting content tailored to your interests and research network. We’re working behind the scenes to continue to enhance this experience, so please let us know what else is relevant to your research needs by completing the survey at the top of your newsfeed.