Meet the Mendeley Web Team

Continuing our series of introducing each of the Mendeley teams, it’s time to meet the Mendeley Web team.

At it’s most simplest description, the web team is responsible for the Mendeley website–making sure it functions correctly and allows for the networking and groups collaborations that happen online.

But, just as Mendeley is about working collaboratively, the Web team works closely with almost every team at Mendeley, ensuring that important features like the Web Importer, Sync, and Mendeley Discover work correctly. Their overall vision is to use cutting-edge technology to help ease the researcher workflow.

Paul Willoughby

Web Team Lead

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Paul was born and raised in South London, and started developing websites about 15 years ago. Having had various jobs and freelance projects across the whole web development stack, he now focuses mainly on the front-end stuff.

Follow him on Github at  github.com/paulwib

How do you describe your role at Mendeley?

As web team lead and senior front-end developer I’m normally up to my neck in meetings, JavaScript or meetings about JavaScript.

Favorite part about working at Mendeley?

Working on the next generation of tools for researchers. If I can contribute a little to the vision of the web as an open platform for sharing the worlds knowledge I’ll be very happy. If not, well there’s always the free beer. 🙂

What do you like doing in your free time?

Cooking, reading, rummaging around in junk shops, wondering where I’ve put my keys.

Chris Barr

Senior Web Developer

Chris joined Mendeley in 2012. He graduated with a BSc in Media Technology from Oxford Brookes in 2007. His degree involved a lot of TV programme production, but the exciting challenges were with web development.

Follow him on Twitter @chriswbarr

How do you describe your role at Mendeley?

Work on the web team developing the main Mendeley web codebase. Also responsible for web code deployments.

Favorite part about working at Mendeley?

I get to work with incredibly intelligent people who are passionate about what they do.

What do you like doing in your free time?

Where to start… I’m an Explorer Scout Leader, so I get to enjoy lots of outdoor activities and camping trips. I love motorsport, photography, cycling, hiking, travelling, hovercraft racing, to name a few!

Mátyás Buczkó

Front End Developer

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Mátyás describes himself as “a passionate developer with the main focus on asynchronous javascript and how to tame it.” Mátyás moved to London in February to be part of the Mendeley team. Previously he worked in Budapest, Berlin and Santa Clara, “but London is by far the best!” he said.

How do you describe your role at Mendeley?

I’m involved with all the quirks and wonders of front end development. So if you are using an old version of IE, I will hunt you down!

Favorite part about working at Mendeley?

The great team, cutting-edge technologies, challenge and the occasional beer on Fridays of course.

What do you like doing in your free time?

Travelling and dancing salsa make a perfect combination for my free time. There’s also a lot of hanging out with friends, good movies and some accidental programming on the weekends.

Radu Helstern

Back End Developer

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Radu joined Mendeley in March 2014, moving from Sweden in search of a challenge.

He was born and raised in Romania and holds an MSc in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

How do you describe your role at Mendeley?

I have an exciting and challenging role to deliver technical solutions that will help realise Mendeley’s vision for transforming research.

Favorite part about working at Mendeley?

Mendeley’s office in London is packed full with very talented, smart, dedicated people. [editor’s note: blush] They create an amazing positive atmosphere which is the perfect ingredient for innovation. Having joined recently, I am really excited to be a part of such an environment and to contribute to the development of a great product.

What do you like doing in your free time?

In my free time, I like to escape reality with the help of a good book (mostly sci-fi or alternative history) or improve my general knowledge about life, universe and everything.

Raúl Jiménez

Back End Developer

After finishing his MSc in Computer Engineering and wandering around Spain in different companies and roles, he decided that was time to see the world abroad, landing surprisingly close to Spain: the occasionally sunny London.

How do you describe your role at Mendeley?

As a Backend Engineer, I help develop and improve Mendeley’s web products, but I’m always keen and happy to collaborate with other departments.

Favorite part about working at Mendeley?

The people! Either working side-by-side with enthusiastic, motivated and highly-skilled colleagues, or having a beer with them.

What do you like doing in your free time?

Unmentionable geek stuff, British humour, playing sports, cooking, learning useless but interesting things, laying under the sun.

Daniel Kendell

Web Technical Lead

Daniel Kendell

I’m a self-taught developer who has worked on a number of different types of projects at various companies all with very different styles of working. I’ve worked in silos, in large teams and small teams. I’ve built frameworks, web services, internal applications and public facing sites. I think this varied experience has given me a pretty well balanced outlook on the art of software development.

Follow me on twitter at @mduk

How do you describe your role at Mendeley?

As the technical lead, my primary responsibilities are to look after the overall architecture of the website, and help to hire the best people we can into the team. I also take an active role in helping to design the new generation of web service APIs that will powering Mendeley as we continue to grow and expand.

Favorite part about working at Mendeley?

Working on an interesting project, as part of a hugely multicultural and talented team, right in the heart of London.

What do you like doing in your free time?

In my free time you’ll often find me tinkering with various electronic projects or playing with music hardware. I am a keen Thereminist and this year I’ve also taken up the AXiS harmonic table. Still can’t keep time to save my life, but that doesn’t diminish my enjoyment. What am I, a metronome? I think not!

Mudi Ugbowanko

Senior Web Developer
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Mudi’s full name is Mudiagahn Ugbowanko. Mudiagahn means “Stand Firm” and it’s Nigerian (which he is). Mudi looks at everything from a holistic, logical and empathetic perspective, which he says makes his job easier to manage (pushing keys to solve abstract problems!). When he’s not geeking out, he’s eating and having fun living life: “#WTH seriously, I love food and getting involved with anything the involves social interaction with other people! #getYourMindOutTheGutter!” he said.

Follow me on Twitter @renegare

How do you describe your role at Mendeley?

No-nonsense get the job done, comedic Pro #contradiction?

Favorite part about working at Mendeley?

People are open minded. Projects are ambitious. Opportunities are plenty.

What do you like doing in your free time?

… eating

 

Meet the Mendeley Community Team

We thought it was high time we put a face to the name by introducing you to the Mendeley Team one team at a time. First up: The Community Team.

The Mendeley Community team is here to support, connect, and engage with our users. Our goal is to make the Mendeley user experience as useful and valuable as possible through tools and resources and real human interactions.  We also strive to develop meaningful relationships with our 1900+ Advisors as they are the heartbeat of our user community.

We are always eager to meet our users to better understand your researcher journey and how Mendeley can better serve you, so if you are ever in the London area, the team would love to meet you! Email shruti.desai@mendeley.com for more details.

 

Jessica Reeves, Head of User Engagement

Jessica Reeves - Head of User EngagementJessica joined Mendeley in 2012. She holds a MSc in Organisational Analysis from King’s College in London, but her previous degrees are a bit more varied: Her B.A. from Communications and Business is from Tulane University, followed by a MPS Preservation of Historic Architecture.

You can follow her on Twitter @jessreeves1.

How do you describe your role on the Community team?

To start, it’s my dream job! I have the opportunity to work with almost every team within Mendeley for the sole benefit of providing a valuable tool for our users so you can change the world of science. Whether we are focusing on enhancing the product workflow, discussing how best to communicate with our users or creating resources to use Mendeley, the users are always at the heart of the matter. In addition to working with brilliant colleagues, the Community team has the good fortune of working with our 1900+ global Advisors. The Advisors are the heartbeat of the user community, the Mendeley enthusiasts. As the leader of the Community team it is my mission to ensure our user community is engaged, educated and excited about what Mendeley is doing to change the way we do research.

What is your favorite part about working for Mendeley?

The people and the opportunity to make a true difference in the outcome of and collaborations within scientific research. The street food market outside our office is not too bad either 🙂

What do you do in your free time?

I realise that two of my hobbies, surfing and sailing, are inspired by my love of the sea. I have been lucky enough to see many  countries of the world from the seashore. Brazil still tops my list for best surf spots and the Croatian coast is by far my favourite sailing spot. Because I spend so much time on or in the sea I have a huge respect for our oceans and the creatures who allow us to be part of their world which led to my thrid passion, conservation.  Specifically shark conservation is a special interest because of the key role they play in this delicate ecosystem.

 

João Bernardino, Insights Marketing Manager

Joao Bernardino - Insights Marketing Manager

Joao joined Mendeley in 2013, after studying Management in Lisbon and Paris. He started his working life working for an insurance company, but after diving deep into financial products and insurance policies, he discovered it wasn’t for him. So he headed to London, where he discovered Mendeley during his Master’s thesis in Marketing, which he did in London and Germany. He previously worked at Adidas doing product marketing (and collecting shoes).

You can follow him on twitter @joaorbernardino

How do you describe your role on the Community team?

My role on the Community Team is a series of fun and challenging tasks that makes me understand our Mendeley community and how we can better support them. It is an exciting role that keeps me in contact with our enthusiastic Advisors and all of our Mendeley internal teams. It is a pleasure to work surrounded by such smart and interesting people.

What is your favorite part about working for Mendeley?

My favourite part about working at Mendeley is the fact that we can actually change the way research is done and improve researchers’ lives, contributing to bigger discoveries.

When I saw the opportunity to join the Mendeley team, I didn’t think twice. This was a company that I wanted to work for. It breathes innovation and success, and as I once noticed quoted on the website, “It’s the most fun you can have with your pants on.”

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time I like cycling, playing volleyball and surfing when I’m back home or whenever I get the chance to meet the sea. I also enjoy to learn new skills such as tech (new software, new products, etc) or artistic (photography, drawing, music, etc).

Claire van den Broek, Education Program Manager

claire2Meet our newest team member! Claire joined our team February 2014, moving from the United States where she completed a dual degree PhD in comparative literature and German Studies. She was born and raised in the Netherlands, and worked as a researcher, university lecturer and academic translator before joining Mendeley.

You can follow her on Twitter @CYvdB

How do you describe your role on the Community team?

As Education Program Manager, I am responsible for Mendeley’s online resources, including video tutorials and guides. I also create and manage educational materials that help others spread the word about Mendeley.

What is your favorite part about working for Mendeley?

Mendeley’s London office is a great place to work; my colleagues are young, enthusiastic, exceptionally talented and you can tell how much they enjoy working here. I only recently joined Mendeley and I am really impressed with the positive office atmosphere created by the founders. The endless free fruit, breakfasts, pizza, cake, snacks and foosball table help of course 😉

What do you do in your free time?

In my spare time I love traveling to unusual places and geocaching. I also look forward to visiting my parents in The Netherlands on weekends again, after many years of living far away in America.

 

Shruti M. Desai, Community Relations Executive

Shruti M. Desai - Community Relations Executive

Shruti joined Mendeley in late 2013. She worked for nearly a decade as a journalist, at various U.S. newspapers and magazines as a reporter in: local government, food and fashion, and education, to name a few.

She transitioned into science outreach at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, in Dresden, Germany, where she was the Science and Society Program Coordinator.

 

You can follow her on Twitter @inothernews

How do you describe your role on the Community team?

My role is to help develop community outreach programs. Part of that role is to share stories of user experiences with the Mendeley team, while raising awareness of Mendeley incentives amongst our users and Advisors.

I work closely with the Advisor community, looking to build relationships and collaborations with researchers, and plan events, training sessions, and other outreach initiatives to raise awareness of Mendeley in research communities.

Spud

What is your favorite part about working for Mendeley?

I really love working with the Advisor Community. It sounds cheesy and overly-earnest, but they honestly blow me away with their enthusiasm, skills, and support. I hope I can support them equally. Also the Mendeley London offices are really fun, filled with talented people who also know how to have a good time. (It doesn’t hurt that occasional office dog Spud is currently snoozing on my lap.)

What do you do in your free time?

I love Roller Derby and used to play for the Dresden Pioneers, but am now am “just” a  fan. I enjoy sharing food with friends, reading YA Literature, and exploring new cultures through travel. I am also happy to be married to science researcher, though sometimes I wish the lab gave him more free time.

 

Ricardo Vidal, Outreach Liaison

Ricardo Vidal - Outreach Liaison

Ricardo attended the University of Algarve (UALG) in Southern Portugal where he received his academic training in the field of biological engineering. Ricardo holds a Masters of Engineering diploma which he obtained at UALG, and as a visiting graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His Masters thesis was focused on the subject of Synthetic Biology and assisted simulation of biobrick construction via bioinformatic tools.

With a strong interest in studying biological systems from a standardized and analytical perspective, Ricardo jumped into his PhD work at Queen’s University (Canada) in the field of bioinformatics and health data analytics in cancer research.

You can follow him on Twitter @rvidal.

How do you describe your role on the Community team?

I’ve has been using Mendeley since the summer of 2008 (early beta-tester) and have been a part of the team ever since. My role as part of the Mendeley team has been quite diverse. Always within the scope of our community team efforts, I’ve played a role of outreach and education about Mendeley. My network and communication skills have allowed me to establish strong and long-lasting connections with a large number of users. My technical skills have enabled me to help produce and project materials and programs that further enabled our educational efforts.

What is your favorite part about working for Mendeley?

I’d say my favorite part is working and interacting with so many great people. Both internally at Mendeley and externally via the community at large. I’ve made some long-lasting connections that have turned into great friendships. As a research scientists and engineer that continuously uses Mendeley Desktop, I get to speak to, and participate with, the users and developers on a pretty close level.

What do you do in your free time?

Uhm, free time? What’s that? Haha! All spare time from work and research is spent playing with my kids.

 

William Gunn, Head of Academic Outreach

William Gunn - Head of Academic Outreach

Dr. Gunn attended Tulane University as a Louisiana Board of Regents Fellow, receiving his Ph.D in Biomedical Science from the Center for Gene Therapy at Tulane University in 2008. His research involved dissecting the molecular mechanism of bone metastasis in multiple myeloma and resulted in a novel treatment approach employing mesenchymal stem cells, the body’s own reparative forces. Frustrated with the inefficiencies of the modern research process, he left academia and established the biology program at Genalyte, a novel diagnostics startup. At Mendeley, he works to make research more impactful and reproducible and is an expert on altmetrics, reproducibility, and open access.

You can follow him on Twitter @mrgunn.

How do you describe your role on the Community team?

As Head of Academic Outreach for Mendeley, I blend deep technical knowledge and industry insight with clear and effective communication skills. I spend a good deal of time writing blog posts, essays, technical papers, presentations,and in general contributing to interesting conversations happening across academia and the tech community, but I also do things that don’t fall under the traditional communication categories.

I also co-direct the Reproducibility Initiative with Elizabeth Iorns and co-organizes Science Online Bay Area with colleagues from other tech companies in the area to bring together people who are doing interesting things that influence how science is carried out and communicated online.

What is your favorite part about working for Mendeley?

I’ve been with Mendeley since 2009, and since the very beginning the thing that has really made it a great place to work has been the freedom to contribute broadly across the organization. If you are interested in taking something on and show the capacity to handle it, you can own your own destiny here. The support and individual care the founders have for each person really helps me feel like my unique skills are appreciated.

What do you do in your free time?

I enjoy cooking and making things with my hands, especially with the assistance of my daughter Charlotte.

There is definitely life after acquisition

Life After Acquisition

 

Last week Jan Reichelt, President and Co-Founder of Mendeley, got together with two other tech company founders to share their personal experiences of what the ride has been like so far.

The podcast was hosted by TechCityinsider and gave some candid insight into both the challenges and the advantages of being integrated into a large corporation. How did the acquisition come about, and once it happens, how do you keep the start-up culture and entrepreneurial spirit that made you successful in the first place?

We were talking to strategic players in the market about things like distribution,  co-development of products, and investments, and Elsevier was very interested. As a start-up you want to get out there and be noticed, and Elsevier has a huge reach to academic institutions and end users through their publications. Plus the strategic alignment was clearly there in what we wanted to build.

The reason we did the acquisition in the first place is because we felt we could accelerate what we’ve done in the past. Mendeley was acquired as a strategic asset for Elsevier, and they are going to invest in it. This year we’re hiring 30 people! As a founder that is what you want isn’t it? For this thing you started to flourish and have even more impact than before.

When asked why he stayed on board after the acquisition, Jan said the challenges that motivated him to start Mendeley are still there:

The difference is that you don’t have to worry so much about how do you fund the business, or about revenue streams. In our case the acquisition was not based on projected revenue streams, but rather to help Elsevier to build its digital product footprint. So from that perspective the motivation is still there, and nothing has changed. Why would I want to leave?

We made the decision to stay as a founding team, together with my other two Co-founders (Victor Henning and Paul Foeckler) and we committed to make this happen in a new environment, where you are not reporting to investors any more, but of course you’re then reporting to a larger organization, so the challenges are much the same, but with different stakeholders.

Obviously things changed, and the biggest change were the different cultures. In the start-up world you make a decision, move on and learn, and you’re working in a small group. Elsevier is of course a multi-faceted company with many different stakeholders, so your challenge is to find your way around but at the same time not lose traction with your own product and your own team, because that is what you care about.  Some things have slowed down and sometimes I feel that we could be doing things faster, but at the same time, we have to grow up as a start-up as well, and we would have faced some of those pains as a growing company anyway.

Tom Allason from Shutl (which was acquired by eBay in 2013) agreed that when you’re a big company with responsibility to public shareholders you kind of have to get it right the first time, but Moonfruit’s Wendy Tan White also believes there is a lot that big corporations can learn from the way that start-ups operate. Her goal is to transfer some of their entrepreneurial DNA to their parent company, and the same holds true for Mendeley:

We run a very agile software development process, and in our particular case that is one of the things that Elsevier is really keen to support, as they currently still have very big legacy systems and long release cycles. They want to incorporate some of this agile attitude to knowledge into their own systems, so they’re quite supportive of that.

The attitude that we now try to pursue is: Let’s continue to be entrepreneurial because that is ultimately what will make the difference to the market, to the customers and to both companies. Nobody knows better than you how your company ticks, so retain that positive attitude despite the additional challenges coming your way.

Mendeley Year in Review 2013

This was a year of great change at Mendeley, with lots of news, exciting developments and, of course, tons of fun at Mendeley HQ. Here are a few of the many highlights:

In January, the Mendeley founders Jan, Paul, and Victor were voted “Best Startup Founders” at the Europas, considered the Oscars of the European Tech scene. This was the second win for Mendeley, which scooped up the prize for “Best Social Innovation Which Benefits Society” in 2009.

In February, we listened to your comments and released Mendeley Desktop v1.8, with expanded offerings and bug fixes.

April brought a lot of attention as Mendeley joined Elsevier. We’re proud to have honoured our promise that the merger would mean very little change for our users, beyond some positive resources…like the doubling of storage space that immediately followed the announcement.

Our Mendeley team participates in monthly hack days. In June, two of our team came up with a cool video that shows Mendeley Desktop Syncs mapped globally. There is something hypnotically beautiful about that video.

Also in June, we opened our doors and invited our Advisors and users to join us at Mendeley HQ . The day had sneak previews and testing of new features and one-on-one chance to talk to the teams at Mendeley and Elsevier…we also managed to squeeze in some fun with Lego playtime, Post-it note fun and loads and loads of food. We hope to do it again in 2014 and see you all there! Check our YouTube video for a quick review of the day.

We continued to meet with the community in July, and hosted an all-day mini-conference on Academic-Industrial Collaborations for Recommender Systems. It was an opportunity to discuss the benefits and challenges of academic-industrial collaborations.

With the start of the academic year in September, we were proud to announce your ability to take Mendeley on the go and introduced our Mendeley for iOS app. (Android users, don’t despair, it is high on our priority list).

We participated in October’s Social Media week in London and hosted an event in conjunction with this year’s theme “Open & Connected.” Missed the presentations? Watch them here.

Mendeley was also involved in a number of partnerships and expanded external apps that we support. To name a few (but certainly not all): F1000 Partnership, ScienceDirect import capabilities, Third-party developer apps (To learn more about creating your own App, visit our Mendeley Developers Portal) and our latest…Mendeley users can now import directly from Scopus.

And this month, we’ve been preparing our product development roadmap. What does that mean? Stay tuned!

Thank you for a wonderful 2013. Happy wishes for the New Year and here’s to making 2014 even better.

 Team Photo

The Mendeley Team

Mendeley Has 2.5 Million Users!

Photo: http://www.morguefile.com/creative/michila

We’ve done it! Mendeley now has 2.5 million users all over the world. This is a huge milestone for us, and of course we only got there because of our amazing community of researchers, so a really heartfelt THANKS goes to all of you.

We hope that over the years since Mendeley started and as we grew into a global research community, we helped to make your lives and work a little easier by giving you the right tools to organise your papers, collaborate with other academics and discover content.

To celebrate we might just have a barbecue on our rooftop terrace if the London weather permits, but if you have any suggestions of how else we could mark the occasion please send them along!

Team Mendeley Races for Life!

Race for Life Mendeley

 

Last Saturday the 22nd June, instead of relaxing in bed like the rest of us, the women from the Mendeley (and Elsevier) team got themselves over to Finsbury Park in London to take part in a charity run for Cancer Research UK.

The weather was not great, but Zuzana, Carole, Rosario, Elena, Charlotte, Veronica and Jessica bravely ran or walked the 5k, with Zuzana and Rosario finishing in under 30 minutes!

Some of the guys from the Mendeley team also showed up to cheer them on, and the rest of the team supported the effort with fundraising initiatives such as baking tasty caffeinated brownies (Andi’s specialty!) which raised a whopping £95. The total raised including gift-aid topped £1000 so we hope that helps to make a difference for this worthy cause!

 

 

Want to get real user feedback? Let them in.

Research-Hub

We all know that user testing and feedback is essential in building intuitive, customer-centric products, and in fulfilling the wants and needs that those users might not realise they had until they come across a solution (hopefully yours). But getting direct input has traditionally been far from straightforward, and often prohibitively expensive for small enterprises.

Whichever way you do it, the Holy Grail is to build a communication channel with your users where they can give you feedback in the most frictionless way possible. Ideally, they should feel like you’re a friend they can chat to over a cup of coffee. So, why not take that idea literally? Instead of escorting someone to their usability testing workstation or putting them with strangers in a focus group, why not invite them into the office and just let them mingle?

Letting your customers see what you do is hardly a new trend. As journalist Lambeth Hochwald wrote, you only need to look at the way bakers have for years created a space for showing off frosting prowess (to which I would add the more recent trend towards open kitchens in restaurants) in order to see how this transparency is appealing to consumers – whatever the product.

People want to feel that they can build a relationship with a product, and this is particularly true when it comes to technology, where that relationship with an app or platform involves long-term interaction, the surrender of personal data, and often – as is the case with Facebook, LinkedIn and our own research collaboration platform Mendeley – the projection of your own personal and professional profile through that product.

The trick is to approach each user as you would an investor, because they are, after all, going to invest time, energy, and a surprising amount of emotion into using your product, and these are precious, monetizable commodities these days. This is why it’s crucial to pitch them the whole package, since getting to know who’s behind the product is getting you a step closer to them trusting the idea.

That’s the concept behind the Research Hub we created in Mendeley’s London office. In and of itself it’s nothing fancy; a collection of 6 desks in a nice airy space, decorated with some pot plants and posters of famous scientists. There is free Wi-Fi and our guests are welcome to help themselves to drinks and snacks in the kitchen or join a game of foosball, chess or Jenga at lunchtime. People use an online system similar to those used to reserve tables at restaurants to book in a time slot at one of the desks, each named after a famous scientist like Einstein, Newton or Marie Curie.

The researchers who pop in can be from out of town or even abroad, and some are local to London and just tired of wrestling with undergraduate students for library desk space. In return for using the facilities we might ask them to give us some feedback and actually test some new features here and there for half an hour at a time, but feedback can also happen around the proverbial water cooler (in our case the coffee machine). This gives them a chance to have direct input in a very natural way, and constantly reminds the team of the real people that use the product every day.

Some companies still have a culture where they hold on tightly to their secrets and are afraid of outsiders taking a peek behind the curtains, but in the world of tech where open APIs and lightning-fast iterations rule, what you can get back from real-time feedback – combined with the goodwill that openness engenders – far outweighs those risks. If you expect your users to love and share your product, then you have to be prepared to show your love and share everything with them too.

Would you like to visit the Mendeley Research Hub? We’d love to see you there, just click here to book!