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

Mendeley’s vision for supporting researchers

Gaby-Appleton-at-MendeleyGaby Appleton is the Managing Director for Mendeley and Researcher Products at Elsevier. She leads an expert product management team in a mission to support millions of researchers with better digital information systems. The aim is to help them have more impact with their work and effectively demonstrate that impact, to stay up to date, to organize and share their knowledge, and to advance their career. She brings over 15 years’ experience to her role along with a passion for the world of research. We met with her to discuss the development vision for Mendeley.

Thank you for taking the time to discuss the development vision for Mendeley. How would you define that vision?

Our vision for Mendeley and indeed for all the Elsevier solutions is to contribute to improving the information system that supports research — an ecosystem of tools and data that addresses real challenges in researchers’ daily reality.

What informs that vision?

Above all, it’s informed by conversations with researchers, which is something I spend a lot of time on. Not that it is a hardship! Spending time with them is truly one of the highlights of my job. Hearing about ground-breaking research from people who are so enthusiastic about what they’re doing is inspirational.

But it’s also essential. The Mendeley team that is responsible for defining our vision needs that open, honest contact with researchers.

Why are those conversations so important?

Because our development strategy has to focus on the problems we can solve for users. If we were doing something because it was exciting technologically but it didn’t address real challenges, then we’d be completely missing the point. We need to ground our development in researchers’ needs.

That’s why we start by listening to gain insight into their challenges, then look at what the technology can do, and finally design solutions to those challenges.

What is the vision for Mendeley’s development that has come out of conversations with researchers?

Based on all the challenges researchers have talked about, we’ve adopted four principles to guide our development strategy: source neutrality, interoperability, transparency, and user control.

Source neutrality means that researchers can use this information system to retrieve, store and disseminate information regardless of the publisher. An unbiased view is the essence of good research and we want to ensure that our platforms and tools are open to content beyond Elsevier’s. Mendeley users can receive recommendations on what to read next (Mendeley Suggest) based on what they’ve already added to their library, and funders-imagethese recommendations are not limited to Elsevier – they can be from any publisher. And we don’t restrict that to papers. Researchers have talked about challenges with staying abreast of funding opportunities, so we’ve worked to provide one of the largest aggregations of funding information, maintaining source neutrality and transparency. The same applies to career postings.

Interoperability is about ensuring that applications, tools and data sets from different providers can work together. The Mendeley API represents our commitment to interoperability with any tools that researchers need.

Transparency is vital to researchers. If they receive an alert or recommendation, they need to know what prompted it. Otherwise, they can’t know if it’s relevant without spending time assessing it. If they are looking at search results, it’s great if they can see how their search string relates to those results. That helps with filtering and refining the hit set. An example of how we maintain transparency is in the functioning of Mendeley Suggest. It makes recommendations for further reading based on what a user and their colleagues are reading, but crucially, it includes information about why that article is relevant.

Control is all about giving researchers control of their own data, where it’s shared and how it’s used by the system. If they don’t want their data to be visible beyond a select group of users, or they don’t want their behavior to provoke recommendations, they should be able to opt out of those features. User control is all about making it easy for an individual to find the settings for preferences. A good example in our system is Mendeley Data, which makes it easy for users to define exactly who sees their data. Similarly, the organization, privacy and recommendation settings of researchers’ reference manager library are easy to control. What displays in a Mendeley Profile is entirely at the user’s discretion.

That’s where our development team constantly strives to take Mendeley: to keep it open to content from any source; to make sure its application programming interface is compatible with multiple tools and platforms; to give users insight into how its features make recommendations; and to ensure that it’s easy for users to set their preferences.

You’re currently developing a new reference manager, now available in BETA, which is a completely re-platformed and updated version of Mendeley’s core reference management function. How does it align with this vision for Mendeley?

I’ll leave it to my colleague Laura Thomson, our Head of Reference Management, to talk about the new Mendeley Reference Manager in more detail in her upcoming interview. Briefly, reference management tools are what we’re best known for. Mendeley Desktop is now ten years old and, while it’s developed incrementally over that time, to really act on users’ feedback and make some big improvements, we felt we needed to take a new RNS_963_a.General version image (2)approach and take advantage of new technologies that have become available since the original Mendeley Desktop was built.

The new Mendeley Reference Manager remains free-to-use and publisher agnostic. The Mendeley API remains open, allowing researchers and developers to create interoperability with multiple tools. We’ve ensured that the settings for the library, recommendations and so on are transparent and in researchers’ control. It’s unique in satisfying those four aspects of the vision for an information system supporting research.

Every aspect of Mendeley follows the same principles and is informed by real-world conversations: from reference management through data sharing to showcasing impact.

We would never pretend that we have all the answers, but we listen. We’ll continue to communicate with researchers as we work on each application of Mendeley. Our goal at Elsevier is an information system that supports research, and Mendeley aims to remain a core part of that.

Thank you very much for your time.

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Find out more about all-things Mendeley here

Find out more about the information system supporting research here 

Show your love for #MyMendeley!

As Mendeley Advisors, you do a great job speaking to the researcher community on your campus about the benefits of using Mendeley. But now we’re calling on you to spread the word even further! Take part in #MyMendeley by making a short video (15 seconds or less) about why you love Mendeley, and upload it to YouTube so we can share it across the social media universe.  (We’ve also raided the marketing giveaways cupboard, so we’ll be sending backpacks and t-shirts to the makers of our favourite videos.)

So here’s how it works:

  • Upload a short video of yourself to YouTube, telling us about why you love Mendeley – maybe how it helps you with your research, your favourite feature, or why you’d recommend it to others
  • Tag your video with #MyMendeley so we can find it and share it

What’s in it for you?

  • Mendeley Glory! We’ll be sharing the videos across our social media channels, so your wisdom will travel far and wide
  • Giveaways! We’ve got new t-shirts and some other fun things to send to the makers of our favourite videos

Looking for inspiration?  Check out Mendeley team members Rachel and Daniel’s videos.

Some tips for making a good video:

  • Keep your video short and snappy (15 seconds or less)
  • Use a fun background! Maybe your lab, a sign of your university or something else that shows where you are from. We used New York City’s famous Grand Central Terminal and Elsevier’s rare book room at our Amsterdam headquarters
  • Film somewhere that doesn’t have too much background noise
  • Give your video a catchy title, and feel free to tell us more about yourself, your research and how you use Mendeley in the description
  • Don’t forget to tag your video with #MyMendeley so we can find it!

We’re looking forward to seeing your videos.

 

Mendeley Can Help Your Research Career Take Off

mendeley opportunities

In the previous article, we explored the ways Elsevier’s Mendeley can help you succeed as a researcher. In fact, you may already use Mendeley to manage your research. But did you know it can also help you manage your research career? Achieving recognition and advancing your career can seem like a full-time job, and often a struggle. But with the Mendeley Careers tool, part of the unified Mendeley ecosystem, you have a free assistant to help you build your career in science, technology, engineering or medicine and perhaps a better balanced lifestyle.

Despite Collaboration, Competition Still Exists

There are 10 million mid-level and senior researchers worldwide…not to mention the 100 million students trying to follow in their footsteps. Most of those researchers are working to become principal investigators (PIs) or have already reached that milestone. And it is a milestone – congratulations! You finally have proof that you’re moving up, and not out. You’re the head of a laboratory or a research group leader. And if you’re still on the path to being a PI, you are striving to demonstrate your value as a successful team member.

Many PIs are looking for their next career move. They are eager to know how they stack up professionally to their peers. In the US, researchers may be reaching for a spot in the top 200 institutions. Some principal investigators will transition into the corporate world; but many do not want to follow that track, at least not yet. They want to continue to experience the serendipity of discovery, and become leaders in their respective fields.

Mendeley Does the Job-Hunting While You Focus on Your Research

When you’re looking for a new chapter in your career, it’s hard to know where to begin. Trawling through lists on job boards is stressful and time-consuming. Mendeley Careers can do the hard work for you, eliminating that stress and the drain on your time. With more than 200 thousand posted opportunities across academia and leading industry corporations, it’s the world’s largest free online search engine for STEM careers.

Mendeley Careers is quick and easy to use: you sign up, upload your CV, and voila, you begin to receive job opportunity notifications. Mendeley is the perfect partnership between smart people and smart technology. Unlike other STEM job search engines and job boards that match candidates based solely on their search alerts, Mendeley Careers goes further. It uses human curation and sophisticated algorithms to match the most relevant opportunities with candidates, developed from a detailed understanding of their interests and expertise. Its built-in intelligence ensures that you’re alerted to all of the posts that are right for you – no more missed opportunities! You can start applying for positions right away, knowing your search is thorough, secure and confidential.

Need help figuring out your next move? Mendeley Careers has that covered, too. It features a Careers blog, written by experts, to help you consider the pros and cons, narrow down your options, and formulate a decision about the best step forward in your research profession.

Mendeley Can Help Assemble the Right Team

PIs and others who are heading up research teams want the best and the brightest to contribute to the success of their projects. They need to identify top talent, often in a short timeframe, and this is where Mendeley Careers comes in once again.

Discover Where You Could Be Working Tomorrow with Mendeley Careers

Most professionals would agree that they’re better at research than job-hunting. So it only makes sense that you employ the most helpful tools in identifying and securing new positions, either for yourself or in creating a team. Mendeley Careers lets you do what you know and love, while it finds the opportunities to enable you to move forward in your career. The innovative Elsevier team behind Mendeley is made up of former researchers, data scientists, and process engineers; they understand your domain, and many of them have walked in your shoes.

You want to be effective in your research and satisfied with your life. Don’t miss out on your perfect career opportunity! Check out Mendeley Careers today, and put it to work for you and your future.

 

 

Mendeley: Everything a Researcher Needs to Succeed

Researchers work very hard, often for little reward, and usually under considerable stress. While the satisfaction of discovery, and the prestige of developing a scientific breakthrough are certainly fulfilling, you can rarely sit back and celebrate. Have I shown independent thought? Does my discovery stand out? What if someone else is working on this same problem? Will the results of my research make a difference to society? Am I building a career here? Will funding sources consider this exciting enough to merit financing? Am I working as efficiently as I can?

Elsevier understands that you’re forced to do more with less. You have to chart your own course, promoting yourselves to a multitude of people and seeking recognition wherever possible. As your career progresses, you have to succeed both as individuals and team leaders. But you don’t have to do it alone, thanks to Elsevier’s online research workflow ecosystem known as Mendeley. Mendeley adds value to every step of your career, whether you’re a doctoral student, post-doc, assistant professor or principal investigator. It makes you feel empowered, organized, confident and connected. And best of all, it’s free!

The Research Landscape is Changing

The life of a researcher is a study in contradictions. You have more opportunities than ever to discover, to make an impact and to interact with their peers. But with all the conveniences that have made research easier – online resources, technology-driven tools, open access, virtual professional communities – you still face many of the same challenges…some with a new twist. First, while there is still a scramble for research funding, it is beginning to shift from local to global. While Europe is ahead of the United States in this trend, it’s a factor to be considered when you’re seeking financial backing. Broad-based collaboration is also more prevalent, especially among younger researchers. Depending upon the problem being explored, the location and the source(s) of funding, a collaborative approach may be best for a new research project.

Research from emerging markets is increasing in volume and value. Researchers from these areas are more egalitarian and likely to collaborate, and need more resources in their own languages as well. Open science continues to be a priority among researchers, as it enables you to collaborate and see a shared impact more easily. However, you also continue to search for more entry points to open science. In addition, the increasing importance of using new technologies, like artificial intelligence, challenges you to keep up with the latest developments without losing focus on your research topics.

Many universities also are changing their model relative to research, with entrepreneurship becoming a growing initiative. Forming companies out of research initiatives is a draw to younger researchers, and an investment for the institutions. It can provide them with a revenue stream, a partnership with outside corporations or both. At the same time, universities are competing harder than ever for every research dollar. They need to attract, and keep, top-tier faculty and students, whose success stories will in turn propel them into the forefront for the next generation of researchers.

When You’re Leading the Charge, Choose a Multi-Faceted Tool

Given this scenario, it’s more important than ever for you to be supported in all facets of your career, from organizing your research and collaborating with other researchers worldwide to sharing datasets and seeking career opportunities. Think of Mendeley as the Swiss Army Knife® of resources for a research vocation. Just like a Swiss Army Knife, Mendeley is a single entity with multiple parts, a unified environment. And it’s likely that you will use the “knife” portion of Mendeley, Reference Management, most often. But there are other convenient tools within Mendeley – Research Network, Data, Careers and Funding – that are unique and equally valuable in enabling your success. For every research need, Mendeley has a solution.

Focus on Doing Your Research, Not Managing It

While you’re busy shaping the future, Mendeley Reference Management makes you more efficient. You spend less time on document management and more time on your research. The Mendeley Reference Manager enables you to easily organize and search a personal library, annotate documents and cite as you write. It automatically captures information such as authors, title and publisher, which makes organization and browsing easy. You can create a profile, as well as start and join groups to find inspiring people and information.

Mendeley’s Citation Plugin is compatible with Word and LibreOffice, so you can generate citations and bibliographies while you write. You can also annotate on documents as you read, or share documents with groups of colleagues and annotate them together. Reference Manager gives you the option to easily import papers and other documents from your desktop, your existing libraries or websites.

Communities Keep You Connected – and In the Know

Mendeley Research Network hosts a global community of more than eight million researchers in every field from institutions worldwide. You can create a research profile, including a curated list of your publications and affiliations, and discover others in your research network. Then you can join groups or start one of your own – either public or private – to engage with your peers.

Based on your interests, Mendeley delivers personalized suggestions for articles to read and people to follow. You can also set alerts to make sure you don’t miss any activity in your network, keeping you connected and informed.

Do You Know Where Your Data Is?

Mendeley Data optimizes the discoverability of your data and fosters teamwork, by facilitating the improved management of your datasets. It’s a secure cloud-based open science repository, so your data is easy to share, access and cite from any location. When you use Mendeley Data, you control who gets to use your data; you can share your data only with colleagues and co-authors before publication, or publish your data to the world. Mendeley Data also supports versioning, simplifying longitudinal studies. Best of all, your data is accessible and archived for as long as you need it by Data Archiving & Networked Services.

Move Up or Move Out

Realistically, that’s the mantra of a researcher’s career.  Mendeley Careers is the world’s largest free online search engine for career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and medicine. It enables you to match your profile and expertise to more than 200 thousand posted opportunities. You can upload your CV and get job alerts via the smart notification system, ensuring that you don’t miss any golden opportunities. You can also use Mendeley Careers to identify the top talent you’d like to add to your team.

Show Me the Money

How much time do you spend trying to find the funding that you and your team members need? If you use Mendeley Funding, it could be a lot less. Elsevier aggregates and catalogs relevant grant information from more than two thousand organizations worldwide – including US government agencies, the European Union, and UK Research councils – to help you find the right fit for your research. Each organization has its own Mendeley Funding page, and you can easily browse and bookmark favorites for future reference. Timely opportunities are key; Elsevier constantly updates the Mendeley funding index to ensure that you have the latest opportunities at your fingertips.

It’s a Personal Assistant, a PR agent and a Milestone Enabler

As your research career advances, you take on more managerial responsibility, leaving you less time to devote to hands-on work. But to move your research forward, and succeed in your career, you need to focus more on the success of your work with your collaborators and less on personal “doing.”

Mendeley is designed to assist you in making this shift. The Elsevier team behind Mendeley is made up of former researchers, data scientists, and process engineers, who are dedicated to empowering you and taking the friction out of teamwork. Mendeley can help you organize your work, assemble a talented team, connect and collaborate, share data, get funding, and stay up to date on trends – so you can maximize the value of your work with your collaborators and the impact of your research.

You’ll form many partnerships during your career, and Mendeley should be one of them. If you haven’t tried Mendeley yet, what are you waiting for?

Get Started!