Mendeley Brainstorm: Open Data – The Wave of the Future?

Is the future of data more open?
Is the future of data more open?

“Pirate Politics” are on the march. The Pirate Party of Iceland tripled their representation in the October election. Many organisations, including the Mozilla Foundation, are clamouring for copyright reform to allow more data sharing. Is Open Data the wave of the future? What are the downsides? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research! The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth £50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes January 11, 2017.

Pirates on the March

The Pirate Party of Iceland tripled their representation on October 29. Part of their appeal in a country as technology literate as Iceland may be their emphasis on open data and reform of copyright laws to allow the free sharing of information.

A Rebellion?

The Pirates’ success may be part of a wider reaction to the increasing restrictions afforded by copyright. For example, the tractor manufacturer John Deere recently argued in court that its ownership of the software in its vehicles extended beyond the point of their products’ sale. The Mozilla Foundation has also set up a campaign whose aim is to make copyright less stringent.

What Next?

As cultural guru Stewart Brand said, “On the one hand…information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable…on the other hand, information wants to be free because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time.” Is the future of data open? What are the positives and negatives of a more open paradigm? Tell us!

About Mendeley Brainstorms

Our Brainstorms are challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research.  We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.

References

COYLE, D. (2016). How the digital age cuts through notions of material ownership. The Financial Times. [online] Available at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d24bd5dc-83c8-11e6-a29c-6e7d9515ad15.html?siteedition=uk#axzz4M10uYtFG [Accessed 3 Oct. 2016].

DE FREYTAS-TAMURA, K. (2016). Iceland’s Prime Minister Resigns, After Pirate Party Makes Strong Gains. New York Times. [online] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/31/world/europe/icelands-prime-minister-resigns-after-pirate-party-makes-strong-gains.html?_r=0 [Accessed 2 Nov. 2016].

TURNER, Fred (2006). From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2 New Reasons to Love Mendeley on your mobile

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Did you know you can access your Mendeley library on your mobile and tablet? I often ask users, like yourself, this question and more often than not, people are surprised. Once in a while, someone tells me they would love to use our app, but are concerned about using too much storage space. When you try Mendeley for your mobile, you will discover you don’t have to worry about this. You choose what PDFs you keep on your mobile device, and the rest of the library will consist of your metadata only.

We’ve just launched a few exciting new features that make this the perfect time to get the app (if you don’t have it yet!).

Suggested Articles

When a friend or colleague tells you about that amazing new paper you absolutely must read, I hope the first thing you do is add it to your Mendeley library. Staying on top of new (and established) research in your field is tough, with so much being published every day. Our Mendeley mobile apps want to work alongside your friends, and also recommend content that you might be interested in. We’ve launched Mendeley Suggest on both Android and iOS, and this is where you can browse recommended articles that are based on the contents of your library. User feedback is incredibly important to us as we continue developing these features, so let us know what you’d like to see in the future!

Mendeley Profile

You go to conferences to absorb new knowledge, see what is happening in your field, but also to network. Meeting people doing interesting research doesn’t end there, and with your Mendeley Profile you can open the door to meeting more of those people. We’re now making it easier to update vital information on your profile by letting you do it from the mobile apps. It’s always nice to have a face to a name, so take a photo and add it to your Mendeley profile straight from your mobile!

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Always improving

We’ve been, and continue to be, very busy in the mobile team. Both the Android and iOS app have seen new features and improvements since being launched. Sometimes these are under the hood, but sometimes they are visual. We’re working on improving our UI and as a consequence, always give you a better experience. If you’ve been using Mendeley on your mobile for a while, you’ll notice we’ve introduced some new colors and an improved navigation menu as well in the last release.

We’re all very proud of these new features and improvements on mobile, but they are just the beginning. We continue to collect feedback and we will continue expanding on these new features and functionalities in upcoming releases. In the mean time, enjoy using Mendeley on your mobile!

Christine is a product manager for mobile, covering iOS and Android apps. She loves all things tech and research, and you can chat with her directly on Twitter @christine_phd

Mendeley Brainstorm – Climate Change – We Have a Winner!

Climate change is altering our landscape...potentially forever.
Climate change is altering our landscape…potentially forever.

Many thanks to all those who entered the Mendeley Brainstorm related to Climate Change; picking a winner given all the well thought out answers was not a straightforward matter, however in the end, we selected Vinisha Varghese’s (of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore) response:

The answer is slightly more complex than a simple yes or no. On one hand, the Paris Agreement is celebrated as the documentation of the human race’s first collective effort to combat the biggest threat in our (relatively young) species’ narrative – climate change. On the other hand, this hot-air balloon is constantly shot down as nothing but a mere ‘green-washing’ of white paper. The bottom-line is that the assessed carbon budget is not sufficient to limit warming to 2°C nor does it help the SIDS – who have conveniently been handed a raw deal. While we have put our faith in negative emissions by means of CCS – scalable technology that we are yet to invent, there have been paradigm shifts to more sustainable practices. Personally, I look optimistically at this deal to restrict warming to below 4°C. To sum up, it all depends on our actions in the next 10 years.

We asked her what inspired her. She responded:

I believe what really inspired me to be more vocal is the idea that researchers can influence positive behavioral changes in the masses. We have to make known to the world that there is still hope and that there are ways of reaching that envisioned future if we only act on them. We can no longer sit back and expect our governments and policy-makers to take care of things though – the need of the hour is collective effort. As an optimist and someone closely involved in the environmental field, expressing my opinion on a platform like the Mendeley Brainstorm was a subtle way of giving a ‘nudge’.

Hopefully others will take the hint. Vinisha also told us:

Once again, I would like to express heartfelt thanks for choosing me from amongst so many well-informed experts! It was challenging to keep my opinion within the word limit.This recognition is incentive to keep a researcher like me (so early on in her career) well motivated.

Thank you, Vinisha!

Those who didn’t win this time are encouraged to respond to the latest Mendeley Brainstorm, regarding Hacking and Online Security. Thanks again to all our participants.

Mendeley Brainstorm: Hacking – How Secure Are We?

Our lives are more networked than ever before; does that make them more vulnerable?
Our lives are more networked than ever before; how vulnerable are we?

Recently, a nuclear power plant was hacked. According to Reuters, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency said the attack “caused some problems” and the plant had to “take some precautionary measures.”  Given the increased prevalence of internet-enabled applications, how vulnerable are we to cyber-attacks and what can be done to prevent them? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research!  The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth £50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes November 23.

Hacking – Not Just for PCs Anymore

The arrival of the Internet of Things has meant that our lives are more networked than ever before; the internet isn’t merely on a computer stuck in the corner, it’s connected to our phones (which track our every movement), it’s embedded into our appliances and vehicles, it’s wired up to security cameras and to life support machines.  However, this widespread connectivity also is indicative of a just as widespread vulnerability: our personal data, our public services, and even our cars could be hacked.

New Dangers

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said a nuclear plant had been hacked. While he didn’t fully spell out the risks, he noted that the security breach had “caused some problems” and “some precautionary measures” were required.

And Continuing Vulnerabilities

On October 11, Symantec revealed that hackers had attacked users of the SWIFT financial transfer network.  The goal was to use “malware to hide customers’ own records of Swift messages relating to fraudulent transactions”.

What Can Be Done?

It’s been projected that “$1 trillion will be spent globally on cybersecurity from 2017 to 2021”; but is this expenditure in vain?  Can our data, our banks, and our public services be truly protected? What can be done enhance security?  Tell us!

About Mendeley Brainstorms

Our Brainstorms are challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research.  We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.

References

Cybersecurity Ventures. (2016). The Cybersecurity Market Report covers the business of cybersecurity, including market sizing and industry forecasts, spending, notable M&A and IPO activity, and more. [online] Available at: http://cybersecurityventures.com/cybersecurity-market-report/ [Accessed 11 Oct. 2016].

PEYTON, A. (2016). Symantec reveals more hack attempts on Swift network.  Banking Technology. [online] Available at: http://www.bankingtech.com/606802/symantec-reveals-more-hack-attempts-on-swift-network/ [Accessed 13 Oct. 2016].

SHARWOOD, S. (2016). Nuke plant has been hacked, says Atomic Energy Agency director The Register. [online] Available at: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/10/11/nuke_plant_has_been_hacked_says_atomic_energy_agency_director/ [Accessed 11 Oct. 2016].

Why we (need to) celebrate Ada Lovelace Day

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Happy Ada Lovelace Day! It’s been seven years since it was founded by Suw Charman-Anderson. While that is an eternity in the tech world (think how many new iPhones have been released since!), there are things that move more slowly in tech than an app release schedule.

Our Mendeley Mobile Apps Product Manager shares her thoughts on why we still need to celebrate Ada Lovelace, and by association, all women in STEM.

A little history

Before we discuss why we still (should) celebrate Ada Lovelace day, let’s first look at who was Ada Lovelace.

Ada became countess of Lovelace through marriage, but before that she was educated in mathematics and logic. This was unusual for girls in her time, but her mother promoted her interests in these subjects. Through her interest in math, she met Charles Babbage, known as the ‘father of computers’. In the early 1840s, Ada wrote a set of notes on Babbage’s Analytical Engine, which were later recognised as being the first algorithm to be carried out by a machine. As such, she is known as the world’s first computer programmer. Not just the world’s first female programmer (how she is often referred), but the first programmer. Full stop.

In addition, her vision included the capability of computers going beyond just number-crunching, which is what many others including Babbage focused on at the time. She was a visionary beyond her time. She was also a woman, in a period where it was uncommon for even wealthy women to have enjoyed education that included mathematics or science. A more common pursuit for women in that time was to study more feminine subjects, such as music.

(Of course now we know there is a relationship between music and mathematics, and there are studies suggesting music can help with mathematics education.)

Today, women have far more opportunities than in Ada’s time. Though the gender ratio in technology and engineering is below 50-50, a considerable number of women work in tech these days. Yet, they are still under represented at tech conferences and in technology itself. Combine this with the varying statistics around salary disparities between men and women (in similar roles), and we are still facing different gaps that need to be closed.

Ada Lovelace Day is meant to bring awareness to great work done by women in STEM fields. Why? Because despite science education being available to girls and boys equally, we do not see the same number of men and women in these jobs. There are various unconscious biases we all have, and each of them may contribute to this disparity.

Computer Science as “Women’s work”?

History rarely goes in a straight line, and when it comes to women in tech, there have been a few interesting detours. Today, you imagine the typical dev team to be mostly men. The pendulum swung another way once upon a time. In the 1940s women were hired to work on the ENIAC machine, one of the world’s first computer. By the 1960s, Cosmopolitan magazine published an article showcasing “Computer Girls” and programming as a great career option for women. In fact, programming was considered a mostly feminine endeavour. Unfortunately, not for the right reasons. Employers expected programming to be low-skilled clerical work similar to typing and filing. The Cosmopolitan article even refers to it being akin to “planning a dinner party”. Developing hardware was considered the more difficult, and thus masculine, aspect of computers. Nonetheless, women continued to be hired even as the industry started to change and become more biased towards men, simply because there was such a demand for programmers.

Changing the discussion

The fact that we still need reminders about bias in STEM jobs favoring men over women says the discussion on this topic is far from done. Although it is definitely a gender discussion, it is also one of ability. I’d like to suggest a challenge and a change of perspective in that discussion. Perhaps if we stop thinking of classically STEM fields as “hard” versus for example the arts as “easy/easier”, or specifically feminine/masculine, then we may change the discussion for the next generations. I remember growing up being told that “Math is for boys”. Followed by “Math is hard”. It is universally known that our culture and societal expectations greatly influence our career choices. Ada Lovelace pursued math at a time when it was highly unusual for women. There is no way to know if and how much resistance she was met with along the way. We do know her family was well off, which certainly helped her in her studies and scientific pursuits.

The discussion should really not be about gender at all, even if today we focus on women’s achievements in STEM. Instead, let’s start opening up the conversation to say nursing and teaching are great careers for boys, and studying physics is just as exciting as linguistics. Then perhaps we do not only see more women in STEM fields, but more men in the arts and social sciences. When we are all pursuing careers where we can make a difference, and careers we love, these fields become a better place for everyone, regardless of gender.

Christine Buske received an HBSc in Biotechnology & Economics, and a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience, from the University of Toronto. Since completing her PhD, she has left academia for a career in technology and loves all things mobile. You follow her on Twitter. Have you checked out the Mendeley mobile apps yet?  Mendeley is available on both iOS and Android.

 

 

 

Mendeley celebrates Ada Lovelace Day: Get your free poster!

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Today is Ada Lovelace Day! Today we, along with the rest of the world, honor the world’s first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace. It is a day to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women in STEM fields.

For today only (Tuesday, 11 October), we are giving away a limited edition of our Women in STEM poster, by artist and scientist Claudia Stocker. Email mendeley-community@mendeley.com and we will mail you the poster, anywhere* in the world. Please include your full name, mailing address, and phone number in the email, otherwise we can not send your poster. Entries accepted until the end of day (which is actually 11:00 GMT on 12 October, to accommodate the whole globe!)

We’re participating online, with short videos highlighting women in STEM careers who work with us at Mendeley, in hopes of being role models to encourage more girls to go into STEM careers. Follow our Twitter and Facebook and see what others are sharing under #ALD16.

Liked our short videos and want to see more? Check out our more in-depth Women in STEM series on YouTube:

 

*We will do our best to send it to your country. Occasionally, we have issues with customs in certain countries.

Mendeley Bootcamp for German-speaking researchers

MENDELEY BOOTCAMP 2016

All scientists have one thing in common: The passion for our research. But growing requirements require fast and efficient cooperation, access to literature from anywhere, timely synchronization of laboratory results and to be in contact with other researchers worldwide. That sounds like a challenge, right? No more! With Mendeley you can easily optimize your everyday work and devote your time what actually really matters: your research.

Developed by scientists for scientists, Mendeley connects you worldwide with 6+ million users.

Join Mendeley Bootcamp 2016 for German speaking. An exclusive webinar series aimed to German speaking researchers focused on how Mendeley can help you manage your references, understand the impact of your research and showcase your work.

The webinar series will cover the use of Mendeley as:

* A powerful Reference Management Tool to Store, read, annotate and cite literature both individually and collaboratively anywhere on any device.

* A Scholarly Collaboration Network with a global community of 6+ mill researchers across all scientific disciplines to connect, collaborate and showcase their work.

* A personal analytics dashboard enabling researchers to evaluate the performance and societal impact of their publications via a concise and comprehensive collection of key performance metrics.

* A discovery tool with personalised Recommenders, Alerts, and media updates, enabling researchers to stay up to date in their fields.

* A data repository to securely store datasets online so they can be cited and shared.

BOOTCAMP SCHEDULE

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Register now!
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RR7VP8G