Meet the Team: Adrian Raudaschl

Name: Adrian Raudaschl

Job title: Product Manager

adrian

Intro bio (background): I originally trained and worked as a doctor in the NHS before transitioning into a product role for a medical start-up. My love of solving hard problems in the world of medicine and academia led me to my current role at Elsevier.

When did you join Mendeley? I joined in August 2017

What do you love most about your job? The opportunity to work with smart and talented individuals from a range of background on valuable problems in academia.

What book did you most recently read? Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

What’s the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley? Many people at Mendeley come from or are connected with people from academic backgrounds. We care deeply about the work we do here, and really want to help make things better in academia. This is not only limited to reference management, but also helping people find a job, build their professional network, discuss the latest research and store research data easily and securely. It is all part of a bigger picture of trying to make researcher lives better.

How would you explain your job to a stranger on a bus? I try to understand what the biggest pain points people are experiencing and build things to make their lives better. After defining what is important, it is about working with a team of engineers and designers to build out something which aims to solve the problems you have identified in the simplest way possible. If it works you iterate and make the solution better, if not we go back the drawing board and question our assumptions.

What’s the most exciting part of your job? Getting to meet and speak with academics about their profession and understanding their problems is a great part of my job. I also enjoy the challenge of taking a bunch of ideas and trying to work with my team on how best to apply our knowledge and resources to solve these problems. When it works well its incredibly satisfying.

What keeps you awake at night? Questioning myself that we are working on the most valuable problems for our users.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week? That we may be able to prevent cavities by colonising a genetically engineered variant of Streptococcus mutans. Interesting paper (https://www.mendeley.com/papers/modification-effector-strain-replacement-therapy-dental-caries-enable-clinical-safety-trials/).

 

Mendeley and Elsevier – here’s more info

 

Victor science
Victor Henning, Mendeley Co-Founder, speaks at the ScienceBusiness Awards 2012 in Brussels (Photo by ScienceBusiness)

The news of Mendeley joining Elsevier made some waves last week.

On Twitter, with typical understatement, it was compared to the Rebel Alliance joining the Galactic Empire, to peasants posing as a human shield for Kim Jong-Un, and to Austin Powers teaming up with Dr Evil.

It’s true that, when I was 13, I played through X-Wingon my Amstrad 486 PC, then had fun playing an Empire pilot in the TIE Fighter sequel — and I’m also half Korean. So while my colleagues are busy mounting the frickin’ laser beams onto the heads of the sharks we brought in to replace our foosball table, I thought I would address some of the other concerns and questions that were raised.

What is the “real” reason for Elsevier acquiring Mendeley?

The question that emerged most frequently, sometimes in the tone of conspiratorial whispers, was about the “real” reason Elsevier acquired Mendeley. Surely there must be a man behind the curtain with a devious masterplan? Not quite. In my mind, it’s straightforward: Elsevier is in the business of providing scientific information to the academic community. In order to serve academics better, it acquired one of the best tools for managing and sharing scientific information. Elsevier can now provide its customers with solutions along the entire academic workflow: Content discovery & access, knowledge management & collaboration, and publication & dissemination. Mendeley provides the missing link in the middle, and brings Elsevier closer to its customers. This makes intuitive sense to me, and I hope you can see the rationale, too.

But what will Elsevier do with Mendeley’s data?

Some people voiced concerns that Elsevier wanted Mendeley’s data to clamp down on sharing or collaboration, sell the data on in a way that infringes our users’ privacy, or use it against them somehow. We will not do any of those things. Since the announcement, we have already upgraded our Mendeley Advisors to free Team Accounts, and are currently reviewing how we can make collaboration and sharing easier for everyone on Mendeley. Also, I want to be clear that we would never pass on our users’ personal data to third parties, or enable third parties to use our users’ data against them.

Of course, Mendeley’s data does have commercial value. Even before the Elsevier acquisition, Mendeley was “selling user data” — but in an aggregate, anonymized fashion – to university libraries: The Mendeley Institutional Edition (MIE) dashboard contains non-personal information about which journals are being read the most by an institution’s faculty and students. Librarians use this information to make better journal subscription decisions on behalf of their researchers, and more than 20 leading research institutions in North America, Europe, and Asia have signed up since its launch last summer.

Mendeley’s Open API also offers aggregate, anonymized usage data, though on a global rather than institutional basis. Mendeley gives this data away for free under a Creative Commons CC-BY license. It’s being used by tools like ImpactStory.org or Altmetrics.com, which are building business models around altmetrics data. Again, you could argue that Mendeley’s usage data is being “sold”, and even sold by third parties. However, as you can see, the general principle is that the data is used only for positive purposes, like analyzing research trends and scholarly impact, without violating the privacy of Mendeley users. That’s how we will keep it in the future, and this applies to any usage of the data by Elsevier or via our Open API.

So how will Elsevier make money off Mendeley?

The existing Mendeley offering will continue to be free, so that we can continue to grow our user base as we have in the past, and we will also integrate Mendeley into Elsevier’s existing offerings like ScienceDirect or Scopus to increase their value. This actually means that we’re now under less short term pressure to monetize Mendeley’s individual users. When we were an independent start-up, we had to think about charging for every new or additional feature, in order to get to break even. Now, we can think more about the long term again.

For example, this enabled us to double our users’ storage space for free immediately after the Elsevier announcement. We had previously also planned to make the sync of highlights & annotations in our forthcoming new iOS app a premium feature – today, we decided instead that it will be free for all users, and thus also free for all third-party app developers to implement. And, as mentioned above, we are currently reviewing our collaboration features to see if we can expand them for free, too.

Lastly, what does your new role in the strategy team at Elsevier mean in practice?

Along with the Elsevier news last week, it was announced that I would – in addition to my role at Mendeley – be joining the Elsevier strategy team as a VP of Strategy. A number of our users and Mendeley Advisors have asked what this will mean in practice, and how my input would be taken onboard.

I’ve been in Amsterdam this week to meet some of my new colleagues and exchange ideas — it’s been genuinely enjoyable and inspiring, so we’re off to a very promising start. I’ve been asked to support them in sharing not just Mendeley’s features, but also Mendeley’s experiences and user-centric values with the Elsevier organization, and to keep pushing the ideas that have made Mendeley successful. Conversely, I will also work on how to best bring Elsevier’s tools, data, and content onto the Mendeley development roadmap and into our users’ daily workflow.

We’re not short of amazing ideas, and you have shared some really exciting suggestions with us as well – the challenge will be to pick the best ones and actually get them done. As always, we will be listening closely to your feedback on how to improve our products and set our development roadmap. Watch this space!

 

Mendeley in Your Neighborhood! Meet Mendeley's Head of Academic Outreach on his US East Coast Tour.

William Gunn, Head of Academic Outreach for Mendeley, and Elizabeth Iorns, cofounder and CEO of Science Exchange, are giving a series of career development seminars at east coast universities over the next few weeks. See below for the dates and locations and check your local event listings for more information.

Please stop by, I’d love to meet you!

Seminar Tour:

Tue 9/18 4PM Yale University

Anylan Center Auditorium, 300 Cedar St. New Haven CT
Wed 9/19 12:30PM Columbia University

701 W. 168th St. Hammer Health Science Room LL203, New York NY
Fri 9/21 4:30PM New York University

Smilow Seminar Room, Langone Medical Center, 550 First Avenue, New York NY
Mon 9/24 12PM Brown University

Brown CareerLab, 167 Angell Street, Providence RI
Wed 9/26 4:30PM Princeton University

Green Hall Room 0-S-6, County Road 526 & William St, Princeton NJ
Fri 9/28 9:30AM Harvard University

60 Oxford Street, Room 330, Cambridge MA
Mon 10/1 1PM UMass Med

Lazare Auditorium, S1-607, Medical School, Worcester MA
Tue 10/2 12PM Boston University

Room L-211/213 BU School of Medicine, Boston MA
Thu 10/4 3:30PM Dana Farber Cancer Institute

Smith building, Rooms #308/309, Boston MA
Fri 10/5 3PM MIT

MIT building 6-120, Cambridge MA

A Mendeley data mashup wins at Data In Sight hacker competition.

Two weekends ago, a group of developers and designers gathered at the Adobe offices in downtown San Francisco to work on data visualization projects taking open data sets and fusing them in creative ways to yield new insights. swissnex San Francisco and Creative Commons organized the event and datasets were provided by Infochimps and Factual and judges were brought in from some of the top design firms and startups in SF and Europe, such as Stamen, LUST, Color, and Square. About a hundred developers and designers showed up for the event, and 20 teams competed in the event. Given such strong competition and high standards, I was really thrilled when my team was chosen as the best data mashup! Here’s what we did…Read More »

5 steps to disrupt AND save academia. Hint: use startup investors

Let’s play the blame game. Government and universities have failed researchers.

I have written before that there are too many PhDs being produced every year. That’s our most viewed post with twice the traffic of the third most viewed post. I think that says something. The result of too many PhDs has meant a surplus of academics doing multiple post-doc tours of duty, lower wages, and a waste of tax payer money. All would be fine if there were enough jobs outside of academia to support those researchers in industry and government, but there are not. Let’s clarify that, there are not enough jobs willing to pay PhDs what they are really worth. And guess what that gets you? Sure, some really smart and passionate lovers of science/research who stick with it, but many of the smart people move on to careers outside of traditional academic jobs where there is money. You lose your talent.

Today is not about arguing this claim at greater length though. Today is about alternatives to this problem by asking where are all of the venture capitalists and startup angel investors?

Read More »

Watch Mendeley and PLoS on the Web! Science Hour with Leo Laporte & Dr. Kiki

Update: Archive of the show can be viewed or downloaded from here http://odtv.me/2009/08/dr-kikis-science-hour-14/

This Thursday I’ll be joining the managing editor of PLoS ONE, Pete Binfield, live on Science Hour hosted by Leo Laporte and Dr. Kiki.

We’ll be discussing the future of academic publishing, science on the Web, or anything else that comes up.

Those in the U.S. might recognize Leo from his nationally syndicated radio show “The Tech Guy.” We will broadcast from Leo’s live studio just outside San Francisco.

Participate: OK Mendelians, now is your chance to ask all of the important questions you have been saving up. What does Victor eat for lunch? Does the Mendeley dev team room smell? What exactly does the Mendeley logo represent?

Or, you can ask a few more serious questions.

Join the chat room to ask questions or just watch what others are commenting on. The chat room can be found on the same page as the broadcast. Please join so that I don’t just get questions from my mom, who I know will be watching. Sorry, Mom.

Where: http://live.twit.tv/
Audio only broadcast: http://twit.am/listen.m3u
Time: 3:00PM Pacific Time (11:00PM UK) on August 27, 2009

Rebroadcast: iTunes or ODTV a few days later

Read More »

Are there too many PhDs?

Ever hear of Douglas Prasher? Probably not. He just missed out on this past year’s Nobel in chemistry. That’s not unusual, as many scientists never even come close to a Nobel. What is unusual, is that Dr. Prasher works at a car dealership, not in a lab. Despite doing the critical research on discovering GFP that became the work for last year’s Nobel Prize, he was unable to find grant money and a job to continue his work.

Prasher’s story is what concerns me with science, engineering, math, and technology. In the U.S., we are constantly hearing about how the country is falling behind in science. We need more scientists to fill all of those jobs we want to create. And the cure to that is to fund more PhD programs! Yet, when you ask graduate students and postdoctoral scholars what their individual experiences are, a science career is a very tough road with low pay and few career prospects. It’s such a tough path that an entire PhD comic strip was born to alleviate the situation with laughter. Why then, is there such a disconnect?

Read More »

Brandon King joins Mendeley as Community Liaison

[Victor:] Completing our trinity of Community Liaison Goodness, may I introduce Brandon King! He is a Ph.D. student in neuroscience at Brown University, doing fascinating research on brain-computer interfaces (so don’t mess with him, or his army of cyborgs will come and get you. No, I just made that up. He’s as nice and funny as they come). We’re excited to have him on our team! Here’s his introduction in his own words:

brandon1—————————————-

I graduated college 2001, the year that journals were just beginning to become available online. So, for the vast majority of my undergraduate existence, I was forced to do the unthinkable: go to libraries and pull articles from the stacks. “I don’t get it. I’m looking for small bits of constantly updated text, so for my uses, the whole library could be replaced by a web page and a search box.” Of course, this was back when saying you read something on the internet was akin to citing facts from a fictional work.

After spending five years in ‘industry’, I decided to return to academia to continue research on brain-computer interfaces. When I discovered that I could download almost any paper on any topic I could imagine, I was like a kid in a candy store. I could hear my Windows machine cry when the indexer hit my “Papers” folder. As I honed in on my eventual project/thesis topic, I began to amass a big collection of PDFs. “No problem,” I thought. “I’ll just sit down for a whole day at some point and organize it all!”

That was when my papers were numbering around 200. After discovering RSS feeds and launching a blog, that number quickly ballooned up into the thousands. As I type this, there are ~3,700 papers in my library. Yes, it is impossible for me to have read them all, but having read at least the abstracts from each, the interplay of all these ideas and the trends in topics over time have played a major role in shaping my understanding of my field of interest.

Did I mention that none of these PDFs have file names? Well, they didn’t, unless you consider sdarticle(122).pdf to be a useful identifier.

As I started working on my project proposal, I knew I had to find some way to keep this mountain of information in order. It should be easy enough to spend a couple hours tediously searching for each paper in one of those ‘reference manager’ programs, right? Or someone must have come up with a really snazzy web app to take care of references, right? Wrong and wrong. At least that’s what I thought until a member of the Mendeley team brought their program to my attention.

Maybe I dismissed it at first because of the beta moniker or the funny name, but as soon as I installed Mendeley and started to play with it, I was hooked. The hours, nay, days, it saved me made it instantly one of my ‘must have’ programs.

I saw huge potential in Mendeley, and started submitting suggestions and bug reports (it was in version 0.5 at the time) and when Victor came to the States to talk with university librarians, we arranged to meet. I walked away thinking Mendeley could easily be a game changer in the same way online journal access changed research.

We came up with the idea of adding the position I am now starting at because realizing the potential of this awesome tool is only possible by engaging the people that are going to use it. Each lab, each researcher, and each student has their own system of compensating for the near Paleolithic Era reference management tools they have access to. To make Mendeley the most useful program out there, we have to get your feedback on how we can better adapt Mendeley to the way YOU work while at the same time gently nudging people away from the status quo in which reference managing is tedious but necessary. I want to make Mendeley as much a source for creating ideas and new connections between ideas as it is for simply managing references. I think one of the unspoken lessons of research is that you have to stop looking at papers as files or a limited set of ideas, and understand instead how the work fits into the topic of interest as a whole. My hope is that Mendeley will allow researchers to bridge old ideas, inspire new ones, and provide a platform for sharing the information that led them to a novel insight. You know. Small goals, like change everything.