Don’t do whatever everyone else is doing

Today we’re talking to Rob Field, Professor of Biological Chemistry, John Innes Centre and editor-in-chief of Carbohydrate Research.

What are your research interests/describe a typical working day

“Generally a lot of it is spent on a train somewhere!” As well as working at the John Innes Centre, Rob is active as CEO of Iceni Diagnostics, which develops diagnostic tools for examining and/or diagnosing infectious diseases e.g. influenza or the norovirus. If that wasn’t enough, Rob has also recently taken over a role as President of the chemistry-biology interface division with the Royal Society of Chemistry! Rob spends much of his time nowadays doing managerial or strategy work but was trained as a chemist and is active with his research teams.

How do you measure success in your work?

The academic markers of success are clearly important, but Rob also looks to the question of impact. For example Rob and his team got involved after anglers on the Norfolk Broads complained of finding large numbers of dead fish. Working with them – and the environment agency, Rob discovered that the issue was down to algae which had been infected by a virus. Rob’s team had similar experiences with their work on influenza so they worked out a method of tracking and neutralizing the algae as well as implanting measures to keep an eye out for reoccurrence. This was hugely important for the local community.

Do you have any particular advice for younger researchers?

“Don’t do whatever everyone else is doing” is Rob’s motto! It’s a very competitive environment, so you have to be distinctive. To Rob’s mind; there is a “growing realization that chasing the Impact Factor is not the best way to do the best science”. More important is to hit the right audience – by e.g. targeting a specific journal. At the same time, it’s important to note that there is a lot of pressure on researchers and corruption that needs to be tackled.

What drove you to become an Editor?

Rob got gradually involved with his journal as a handling editor then in time became editor-in-chief. In doing his editorial work, Rob recognizes that science is “never static” but nonetheless some traditional journals occasionally stay still. Rob is keen to ensure that Carbohydrate Research leads from the front and maintains its edge and usefulness to the community.

What is the most rewarding aspect of editorial work for you and what do you find difficult about the role?

Workflows and timings are the difficult issues for Rob. Getting c.150 emails a day makes for a huge workload! On the plus side, Rob enjoys the position of being able to determine which research progresses into the journal. Whereas he sees some journals as taking in everything – and in doing so losing focus; Carbohydrate Research maintains selectivity and thus rejects c. 2/3 of submissions.

What professional use (if any) do you make of social media and/or scholarly collaboration tools like Mendeley?

“This really depends on whom I am working with – everyone has their own pet approach.” Part of the difficulty, Rob says, is that there is no standard format or tool at the moment – even for data sharing. It can be Dropbox for one project, Mendeley for another or something from Google for the next! More and more young people are coming in though and they are even more IT savvy than those in their 30s. There is an obvious and increasing use of Twitter or Facebook to access information. One big change that Rob has observed is the shift away from Web of Science type database searches to simple Google searching. Generally, there is more and more need to share data as part of collaborative work and have access to literature as well as documents and reports. “I sit on lots of funding bodies. In the past, you would have got a suitcase of hard copy – now there is a web portal!”

If we could build a tool/device to help you most in your career or editorial work; what would it be?

For Rob, one frustration dealing with primary research papers is dealing with different formats between publishers. Therefore, access to a central bank which smoothed out formats would be great. “Some formatting is overkill”, he says.  Another thing would be more streamlined access to research papers. “The move to OA makes sense but it is nightmare to get there.” Finally, quality control is getting more and more difficult. Younger people don’t have experience to navigate the huge number and variety of journals and sources. They often take everything at face value.

Have you any particular interests in what remains of your time apart from university and editorial work?

When he’s not wearing one of his many work hats, Rob enjoys fishing, watching rugby and travel.

Rob was interviewed by Christopher Tancock

Insights into funding: Indian Department of Science and Technology

Indian research spending is approximately $70 billion annually.

By Seema Sharma

Looking for DST Research Funding? Try Mendeley Funding!


In 2016, India spent 0.85% of its GDP on research and development. Although this may lag behind some of the research commitments of its Asian neighbours, (China spent 1.98% and South Korea lead the region with a significant investment of 4% of its GDP), it still represents a non-trivial funding amount of ~$70 Billion annually. In recent years, Indian Research Institutes have significantly increased their influence in global rankings for research output, with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) now ranking 41 globally, and in the top 10 in the Asia-Pacific region [1].

DST Funding Overview

In this post, we’re focussing on funding opportunities from the Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST). The department has a multi-functional role that includes setting scientific policy, advising the government, supporting its 21 research institutions and promoting emerging areas of science and technology (S&T). Additionally, together with its subsidiary body — the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), it allocates S&T research grants within its funding criteria to undertake research at its institutions and beyond. Note, there are several other Indian governmental departments, including the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), that also support grants in scientific research fields. The full list of all departments can be found here.

The funding focus available from the DST in India falls into the following 6 broad categories: Scientific & engineering research; technology development; international S&T cooperation; S&T socio-economic programmes; technology missions division and women scientists programmes.

There initiatives and projects funded in these categories are diverse. Some examples include: the technology mission division supporting solar energy research though a dedicated Clean Energy Research Initiative (CERI); women scientists programmes providing funding for those women returning to work after career breaks; the technology development funding a new quantum computation and communication systems project.

Calls for proposals have a definitive submission deadline and those currently available can be found listed at Announcements, in the form of ongoing funding opportunities are also invited throughout the year, with no definitive deadline, and are available here. The format and requirements for funding applications differ and researchers should play close attention to the guidelines stipulated in the individual call or announcement.The DST has adopted an electronic project management system portal (e-PMS) for the online submission of research proposals. Researchers are required to register on the portal ( and then upload the proposal in the given format specified in the call.

Proposals will be sent to at least three peer reviewers selected by DST. Applicants can nominate three reviewers and the DST guarantees to select at least one of these, subject to ensuring there are no conflicts of interest. Applicants have an opportunity to respond to reviewers’ comments in writing. In addition, applicants may also be called to an interview before a panel to gather more information and clarity on the proposals. The expert panel may review and moderate peer review reports and seek further information based the what it presented by the applicant at interview.

DST International Collaborative Funding

As part of a focus on international cooperation, the DST has a number of joint global calls for funding, teaming up with international partners. It’s notable that many of its current calls for proposals involve collaboration with one or more countries. The DST states that in recent years its cooperation has strengthened notably with Australia, Canada, EU, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Russia, UK and USA.

UK-India, Germany-India, France-India and US-India collaborative calls are regularly announced. Here, research applicants are required to apply jointly from the two countries involved, and each proposal should involve one or more organisers from each country. Two funding councils will be involved, the DST and the joint partner research council.

In the UK, a number of recently funded grants have included joint collaborations between the DST with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) on projects for improving water quality through monitoring pollutants, and reducing energy demands in the built environment. Current Indo-UK joint research calls available through the Research Councils UK (RCUK) can be found here.

The DST is also involved in a UK-India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI), a bilateral governmental commitment from both countries to partner in research. They have a number of funding calls currently available, (independent to those listed by the RCUK), listed here. Equivalent bilateral research initiative centres also exist in France (Indo-French Centre for Promotion of Advanced Research), Germany (Indo-German Science & Technology Centre) and the US (Indo-US Science and Technology Forum), which are worth checking for regular funding calls.

The DST require that all international collaborative research projects proposals should emphasise the joint research effort between Indian researchers and the other participant country. Furthermore,  both applicants should clearly demonstrate the added value drawn from a collaboration with India. They also encourage the exchange of research staff, including travel funding specifically for that purpose. The Indian Lead applicant researcher must work at an institution that receives grants from the DST and have registered online at their portal.

Finally, we’ve listed a number of standard assessment criteria to help when submitting international collaborative projects with the DST, these include:

  1. Quality of proposal
  2. Importance
  3. Pathways to Impact
  4. Appropriateness of applicants (CV’s are submitted as part of this)
  5. Resources and management
  6. Fit with the call

Good luck with your application!


Useful Links

Need Funding Opportunities? Mendeley Users: visit Mendeley FundingMore Information

Mendeley & E-PIC event in Austria on November 21st and November 22nd

What helps researchers to do their jobs? How can you best organize your documents, generate citations and bibliographies in a whole range of journal styles with just a few clicks? We offer you the chance to get to know Mendeley in Austria – at TU Vienna (Nov 21st) and TU Graz (Nov 22nd).  You will hear about the enablement of reference management, support of international collaborations and researcher data insights.

Register Now

 The program:

  1. Welcome and Introduction
    Presented by: Jürgen Stickelberger, Account Manager Elsevier
  2. Overview of researcher and institutional solutions
    Presented by: Giovanna Bartens, Market Development Manager, Mendeley

    • Mendeley at a Glance
    • Mendeley Institutional Edition (MIE)
    • Live demo – Mendeley key features
    • Your research community within Mendeley
  3. Break
    • Mendeley Updates – Roadmap and Developments
    • Presented by: Virginie Wagenaar, Product Manager MIE
  4. Introduction to Elsevier Product Insights for Customers (E-Pic)
    Presented by: Chinmay Panigrahi, Product Manager E-Pic Q&A


TU Vienna:

Tuesday, November 21st
13:00 am– 16:00 pm

Contact person:
Ingrid Haas

Vortragsraum der Universitätsbibliothek
der TU Wien
Resselgasse 4, 5. OG
1040 Vienna


TU Graz:

Wednesday, November 22nd
10:00  am – 13:00 pm

Contact person:
Dr. Ulrike Kriessmann

Bibliothek und Archiv der TU Graz,
Seminarraum BZK1012, 1.KG
Technikerstr. 4
8010 Graz



For further question please contact:

Tanja Giessner
Customer Marketing Manager
A&G Europe (Europe Central)
t + 31 20 485 2366

Want to work for a top science employer?

There are many brilliant workplaces in the world of scientific research.

It’s awards season again, and Science Magazine has pulled together its list of top 20 employers.

Mendeley Careers has opportunities from these leading firms. To find their latest roles, click the links below:

Ranking Employer Name Link to Jobs
1 Regeneron Link
4 Merck (Germany) Link
5 Novo Nordisk Link
7 Genentech Link
8 Eli Lilly Link
10 Abbvie Link
11 AstraZeneca Link
12 Syngenta Link
13 Roche Link
14 Novartis Link
15 Abbott Link
16 Boehringer Link
17 Merck Link
18 Monsanto Link
19 Celgene Link

Want more jobs?

An introduction to applying for a NIH grant

NIH funding is a major resource for medical researchers
Looking for NIH Research Funding? Try Mendeley Funding!


by Seema Sharma

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US, is one of the world’s largest funders of biomedical research grants. It awards funding of over $30B annually, for research that falls within its mission to understand living systems, enhance health, extend healthy lives, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. The NIH is funded by the US federal government and is made up of 27 institutions and research centres, with 24 actively offering funding grant awards. The funding criteria for each individual institution may vary from that of the NIH as a whole, so researching the institute whose grant you are applying for is crucial.

NIH grants have three types of calls to funding, including program announcements, requests for applications and parent announcements. All current funding opportunities are listed here The first type, program announcements, are open for 3 years and usually highlight an area of focus, offering three opportunities for submitting applications a year. The second category are requests for applications (also known as RFA’s). The latter have a narrowly defined title and focus, a single submission date and a preallocated amount of funds.

Finally, if there are no available program announcements, or RFA’s available for your research project, a third type of grant called parent announcements are on offer. These allow researchers to submit speculative or investigator-initiated applications, encouraging new research ideas. Note that parent announcement applications need to be in line with the NIH’s mission, and fall within the criteria of specific NIH activity codes available here. For further information and advice on the different types of grants available, including help on which would suit your needs best, resources are available online at

Tips on submission

Remember to pay close attention to any specific requirements and instructions outlined in the funding announcement. Your call to funding will normally stipulate whether electronic or paper submission is required. Paper submissions require use of the PHS 398 application form, whilst electronic submission requires the SF424 (R&R) application. The majority of calls require electronic submission, details of which will be included in the funding announcement. A general application guide is also available for guidance on submission.

You need to take into account that there are multiple systems that your institution must be registered with to insure you can submit an application. These include having what’s called a Dun & Bradstreet number, (comprising a unique 9 digit code), registration with eRA commons — a grant administration interface used to share application information and track its status, institutional registration at and also at the system of award management ( Individual investigators applying for grants also need to register on eRA commons and  It can take up to 8 weeks to register with all of these, so make sure you factor this in when preparing your application.

NIH encourages you to contact their staff during the grant submission and review process. A list of staff contacts and the types of support they provide is available here. Program officials can be a useful point of contact for researchers when submitting an application, as they are responsible for developing grant initiatives and the programmatic content of a grant. Scientific review officers are responsible for conducting the technical and scientific review process. A review panel will be recruited by them from global scientists with relevance to your field. They evaluate the application to ensure it meets the criteria set out in the funding announcement, review it for scientific merit and identify potential conflicts of interest. Ultimately, their job is to provide a fair review of the grant application and provide a summary of their evaluation to applicants.

When writing your application, bear in mind NIH awards favour high impact research, that meets the priorities of the specific institute you are applying too. They also ask that you directly address the following key criteria in your application, each of which will be assigned a score by reviewers:

  1. Reviewers will want to know how the project will advance knowledge, solve a key problem and help progress in your scientific field. They will want to see a sound scientific premise for the research. Make sure you highlight the impact of the successful completion of the research project. They’ll be looking for it to be described in terms of scientific knowledge progress, advances in technical capability, or clinical practice, as relevant. Take time to describe how it might change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that are key to your field.
  2. Investigator(s). All those team members carrying out the project should be outlined here, including a clear programme of work for each contributor. You need to describe how they hold relevant training, experience and an outstanding research track record relevant to the area. If a collaboration is required, how will the experiences of the Principal Investigators, or other researchers involved, come together to deliver a successful project?
  3. Your project should aim to use new theoretical concepts, methodologies, instrumentation and interventions. You should clarify whether these represent a novel approach in your specific field or are unique across fields. Describe how you will seek to advance current research or clinical practice paradigms through your project to show innovation.
  4. Approach. Reviewers will be seeking a sound strategy, clear methodology, and analyses, that are all pertinent to achieving the stated aims of the project. They will want you to detail and pre-empt potential roadblocks and risks to the project that might arise. More importantly, you will need to state how you will deal with problems, including the alternative approaches could you take. Benchmarks for success, with clear quantifiable objectives throughout the course of the project, should be made evident. Your methodology should be justified as being scientifically robust, free from inherent bias and addressing biological variables. The use of animal and human subjects needs to be clearly justified.
  5. Environment. Here, an outline should be given of the scientific environment in which the work will be conducted. This should include all relevant resources, equipment, institutional support and collaborations, outlining how they will contribute to success.

What happens after submission

After submission of your application through your existing institute, it is handled by the Center for Scientific Review at NIH. They assign the application to the relevant reviewers and the institute you are applying too. There is a two tiered version of peer review, with the first level being referred too as the study section. During this time, your project is evaluated solely for scientific and technical merit, with the assignment of an impact score.

At the next stage, your grant submission is passed on to the institute you are applying too. The institute then evaluates it against its current priorities. After review, an advisory board from the institute will recommend whether funding should be awarded or not. The Institute Director will receive their recommendation and holds the final decision.

If successful, the institute will make the grant funding award via an applicant’s organisation to allocate funds to the Principal Investigator(s) involved in the project. The entire process normally takes at least 9 – 10 months, from the point of a submitted application to the successful receipt of a grant. There may be further stipulations that need to be met in order for the grant funding to be awarded – for example education certifications, or relevant documentation regarding any use of human or animal subjects in your research.

Good luck with your application!

Useful links

Need Funding Opportunities? Mendeley Users: visit Mendeley FundingMore Information

Webinar Series for Researchers: October webinars in French and German

Webinar in French: De la visibilité des laboratoires français : quels bénéfices pour les chercheurs ?

18 October 2017, 11:30 -12:00 CEST

Presenter: Anne Catherine Rota, Research Intelligence, Elsevier

Comme vous le savez, les multiples tutelles des laboratoires français ne facilitent pas la visibilité de leurs publications scientifiques, élément pourtant crucial. Cette session a pour objectif de présenter l’optimisation du repérage des laboratoires français et de leurs multiples affiliations dans Scopus afin de refléter au mieux la réalité de la recherche française.

Register Now

Webinar in German: Multidimensionale Metriken zur Auswertung und Messung von Publikationsleistung

23 October 2017, 11:30 -12:00 CEST

Presenter: Tomasz Asmussen, Customer Consultant Research Intelligence, Elsevier

In diesem Webinar werden folgende Themen anhand konkreter Fallbeispiele erläutert:

  • Erstellung bibliometrischer Auswertungen für einzelne Forscher oder Forschergruppen
  • Transparente Journal-Metriken (CiteScore, SJR, SNIP) als zentrale Messgrößen
  • Wissenschaftlichen Impact auf Basis von Nutzungs- und Zitationsdaten im Zeitverlauf analysieren
  • Forschungsthemen/-felder mit Keywords frei definieren, weltweit suchen, auswerten, beobachten
  • Einsatz alternativer PlumX Metriken zur Ergänzug der Auswertung
  • Export von Scopus-Daten in andere Tools (SciVal), Datenbanken oder in Forschungsinformationssysteme (FIS)

Register Now 

Can’t make the live event? You can still register and you will be notified once the webinar recordings are available!


1800 Journals Enable Data Sharing Through Mendeley Data

Use Mendeley Data to safely store, share and cite your research data.

You may have noticed that funding bodies and universities increasingly require you to share your research data at the end of your project.  This often coincides with the time when you publish papers about your research.  Therefore, journals are looking for ways to make it easier to you to share your data and comply with funder mandates. Mendeley Data can help with that.

Elsevier announced earlier this month that they are now implementing journal data guidelines for all their journals. This means that all journals will clearly explain whether you are expected to make your data available. More importantly, this means that all journals now provide the right infrastructure for data sharing.

For most journals this means that they will provide three options. First, it is possible to link to your data in a domain-specific data repository. Domain-specific repositories are often the best place for your data because they can ask for the information that is relevant in your field. However, in cases where there is no good domain-specific repository available, these journals enable you to share your data through Mendeley Data.

When you upload your data to Mendeley Data during the article submission process, a draft of your data will become available. Only you, the editor, and the reviewers have access to this draft. This gives editors and reviewers the opportunity to take a look and provide feedback. You can then still make changes to improve your dataset. By default, your dataset will only become publicly available when your article is published. If you want to analyze your data further before sharing with the world, you can also set an embargo data so that the dataset will become available at a later time.

In cases where you cannot share your data at all, you will have the option to make a data statement, explaining why your data is unavailable. Should you wish to make your data available at a later point in time, just go to and indicate that this dataset is linked to an article. We will make sure your article links back to your dataset to ensure it gets the attention it deserves.