Advisor of the month: Merceline Obwaya

 

Merceline is a Library Assistant at the Kenyatta University Post Modern Library. Merceline grew up in a small village called Nyansara in Kisii County, Kenya. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Library and Information Science from Kenyatta University in December, 2014. She is passionate about providing timely and quality services to the community she serves.

 

How did you get into your field?
I love reading, but that’s not the reason I became a librarian. I love connecting people with the information they need to change their lives for the better. I love the hunt and the power of having the right information at the right time and teaching others to gain the skills too. I chose to pursue a degree in Library and information Science to accomplish all these through serving library/ information centres’ clients. I joined Kenyatta University Post Modern Library a few months after graduating and it has been exciting serving the University Community. It is amazing to work in a library!

Where do you do work the best?
In a relaxed and clean environment with people who are committed to their work and are self-driven.

How long have you used Mendeley?
I was first introduced to Mendeley in 2015 by my supervisor, who is currently the Deputy University librarian at Kenyatta University. Thanks Mr. Thuku!

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?
Microsoft Word citations & bibliography. Mendeley is a one-stop solution when it comes to research. It makes referencing and citation so easier, allows one to read the saved PDF documents, make notes and add comments and even search the web catalog for more related reference documents and suggests more articles for further reading. It is an amazing tool.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor, and how are you involved with the program?
When I joined Kenyatta University, I realized most of the users I served had issues with citation and referencing. I took the challenge to learn more about Mendeley, so that I can help them rather than giving them several referrals to the reference experts. I joined the Librarian certification program in 2017 and I learnt and sharpened my skills in using Mendeley. I am involved in the library Information Literacy training sessions and one of the key issues addressed in the trainings is use of the reference management tools. I am the Mendeley expert in my library! I train the students and staff how Mendeley can make their research more enjoyable and easier.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?
No one in particular, but I wish to meet the Mendeley team. They have done so much to make referencing such an easier task, providing all the support and resources needed by the users to learn more about Mendeley. The people behind this magic.

What book are you reading at the moment?
In addition to the many articles I read while working, I am currently reading “Doors of opportunity: issues in personal development and achievement” by Sebuye Livingstone.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?
Learning is a continuous process. There is always something new to learn each day.

What is the best part about working in research?
Always learning to solve problems scholars face to make their research life better and interesting.

And the most challenging part about working in research?
When people assume that as an information professional you know everything, and that you can solve all the challenges they face in the research world.

What is one Mendeley “ProTip” you have?
All the Mendeley features are just where I exactly need them. The new Mendeley web importer is an amazing development! I can now save the subscribed articles without going through the long process of downloading them to my desktop folders first.

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Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here

Advisor of the month: Virginia Ballance

Virginia BallanceVirginia Ballance is the Nursing and Health Sciences Librarian at the University of The Bahamas. She works in the Hilda Bowen Library at the nursing school campus in downtown Nassau Bahamas.

How did you get into your field?
I loved studying and working in the library while I was at university and after graduate school studies sort of moved seamlessly into librarianship.

Where do you do work best?
In the library.

How long have you been using Mendeley?
I set up an account several years ago mostly to try it out. Last year the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research suggested I offer a workshop on reference management – we selected Mendeley because of the great features.

What were you using prior to Mendeley?
Years ago I used EndNote but in recent years, embarrassed to say, I wasn’t using anything…

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?
The Mendeley Advisor programme encouraged me to really learn to use the product and exploit all its features as well as providing me with the training materials (presentations that could be customized, posters and certificates) needed to run a workshop. Being an Advisor puts you in contact with a fabulous group of Mendeley users all over the world to share experiences using Mendeley. There are other great benefits such as having a larger account size and greater number of Mendeley groups.

Which researcher would you most like to work with, dead or alive?
Hard question – to be honest, I really enjoy working with the students and faculty here at the University of The Bahamas.

What book are you reading at the moment?
Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari and about 10 other books…

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?
I discovered Google Crisis Maps. This is a special project which gives access to satellite images and maps specifically for emergency situations. I was amazed to see details of the extent of the devastation on the two islands in the Bahamas that were hit by Hurricane Dorian on September 1, 2019. https://www.google.org/crisismap/weather_and_events

What’s the best part about working in research?
Seeing your name in print! Getting cited!

And the most challenging part about working in research?
Procrastination. Making time in the day or the week to work on writing especially when there are so many distractions.

What’s the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?
It can make your scholarly writing so much easier…

Do you have any advice for young researchers?
Absolutely – be brave, go to conferences, present your ideas, network, work with your colleagues, and let the librarians in your institution know what you are working on.

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Watch Virginia give advice on the best methods and tools to effectively collect, organize and retrieve a personal knowledge base as part of Elsevier’s recent Build My Knowledge webinar

Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here

Advisor of the Month: Payam Sepahvand

 

Intro:

I’m Payam Sepahvand, an undergraduate student at Lorestan University of Medical Sciences and a researcher at Razi Herbal Medicines Research Centre in Iran.

How did you get into your field?

I am at the beginning of my research journey. My story began when my mother became sick and was treated with herbal medicines. After that, I became very interested in research on herbal medicines and traditional medicine.

Where do you do work the best? 

I like an environment for conducting research, where people work and study with love, interest and help other humans and other creatures on the planet, away from material purposes.

How long have you been using Mendeley? 

I’m have been using Mendeley for almost two years.

What were you using prior to Mendeley 

Before Mendeley I used the EndNote application. Mendeley software has a much better and faster user interface, as well as being free and always available.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor ?

Always when I find something good and functional, I love to share it. That’s why I decided to introduce this useful and functional tool to others, as far as I can, and improve the work speed of others.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

I would like to work with Professor Thomas Efferth, the chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Biology, Institute of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany. I’m trying to be like him in my job.

What book are you reading at the moment ?

I’ve read the book “One Minute for yourself” of Spencer Johnson, because by improving and upgrading my skills, I can be more useful to the world.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

The new matter that I learned was about implementing a new irrigation system for agriculture. Along with studying, I am engaged in agriculture to cover my expenses.

What is the best part about working in research?

The best part of being a research fellow is to step in and enter the world of unknown and new things.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?

For me at the moment, provision of the costs and expenses of conducting research projects has become the hardest part of the work, but in general, if there is love and interest in the work, certainly, any difficulty is tolerable.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

If I just want to talk about a feature, I’d like others to know more about the great user interface of this software.

 

Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here

Advisor of the month: Ahmad Samir Alfaar

Dr. Ahmed Samir Alfaar

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

My cousins had a home library full with science fiction stories that encouraged me to read more about science, my mother was a high school mathematics teacher that used to build models for teaching, I started to read early in biology and by the end of high school I decided to be a physician that practices medicine and does research. I entered medical school, finding no chances for practicing research for students, I decided to practice programming and by the end of medical school I decided to specialize in Ophthalmology and medical/biomedical informatics. I was called to participate in founding the research department at Children’s Cancer Hospital, Egypt in 2008. The team we built created a great environment to learn more about clinical and biomedical research, so I specialized in ophthalmic oncology research. We have gained knowledge together in many aspects and identified the areas that need development in ourselves. After three years, I have been assigned as a head of the research education unit. I have designed and organized multiple training programs for students, early graduates and hospital staff training on clinical research. After finishing my diploma of informatics, Master of science in ophthalmology and Master science of Advanced oncology, I decided to pursue my PhD in molecular medicine and integrated my informatics knowledge in that. Due to the delay in starting my PhD, I have completed another doctorate degree for physicians (Dr. med.)  and now I am conducting a second doctorate degree (MD/PhD in Neuroscience) at Charité Universtätsmedizin – Berlin and Humboldt University International Graduate School of Neuroscience. My current research focuses on the underlying mechanisms of Retinal degenerative diseases beside many other topics.

Where do you do your research? What kind of environment suits you?

I have found that the best place for production is the garden and on the train. However, I lack power supply in the garden, my laptop does not last for very long disconnected and I do not travel that often to allow myself to work on trains, so I find myself obliged to accept working at my desk.

The best environment for research, for me, is open space where I work with students, colleagues and other physicians, sharing knowledge freely, teaching and discussing clinical and biological dilemmas without limits or sensitivities. In any place I plan to work I install a big white board for describing, modelling, sharing and breeding ideas, sometimes, over years.

How long have you been using Mendeley? 

Over 10 years, since its first beta versions.

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?

Before Mendeley I was using Zotero. Zotero was a great move in the field of citation management after classic ones like Endnote. However, Mendeley represented the first user-oriented, user-friendly, and of course free, software. Its learning curve was extremely steep. Before that, researchers required longer time to learn the software, build their own library, and cite within the documents. Mendeley accelerated my speed of organization, annotation and writing and submission of manuscripts. These findings were noticed also by my students and colleagues whom I taught Mendeley. Moreover, it allowed hundreds of my students to collaborate effectively on publications and scientific documents over the last 10 years. Such web 2.0 features were unique in Mendeley.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?

I was teaching Mendeley before being an Advisor. Being a Mendeley Advisor means I am updated about feature-releases early and supported with teaching materials. Moreover, it allowed me to be recognized by those who want to learn about the software. A more valuable reason was the storage space given to Advisors. This allowed me to build large number of groups during the big courses that I was organising, to evaluate participants’ progress, and to practice with them till the publications get published.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

From the last 100 years; Alfred G. Knudson Jr, and from the last 1000 years; Ibn Al-Haytham.

Besides, many people that impressed me by their art of organised depiction starting from nominal observations.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Behave, by Robert Sapolsky. It provides a perspective of a scientist on the triggers and development of human behaviour and the potential relation to other creatures.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

Working in research raises the threshold of signals that can be named interesting. It teaches you to doubt everything. Everything requires re-analysis even what very reputable outlets broadcast.

What is the best part about working in research?

You keep asking, diving in the space of answers, you keep mutating and breeding your questions, evaluating your question, however, no answer is satisfying, but you report your position and enjoy the game.

And the most challenging part about working in research?

To convince humans of something they cannot model (imagine) and to form holes in their conflicts of interest.

What is one Mendeley “ProTip” you have? 

Drag, drop, show me your paper

Biography 

Dr. Ahmed Samir Alfaar, is a physician (ophthalmologist), informatician, medical educator, patients’ advocate and clinical research expert. He was graduated from Cairo University Medical School in 2005. He received PPCR Clinical research certificate from Harvard University in 2009, Certificate of E-Learning Development from Inwent-GIZ in 2009, Diploma in Informatics from Helwan University in 2010,  Master of science in Ophthalmology in 2012, and Masters of Science in Advanced Oncology from Ulm University in 2014. Ahmed worked as a clinical research specialist in Retinoblastoma and Pediatric solid tumors between 2008 and 2014 in the Children’s Cancer Hospital – Egypt, and the head of research education unit between 2011 and 2014.

He moved to Berlin in 2015 to work in the experimental ophthalmology department, Charité Universtätsmedizin-Berlin and received his first doctorate degree (Dr. med.) in Ocular Oncology in 2018 and since 2017 he has been studying for MD/PhD degree in the International Graduate School of Medical Neuroscience, Humboldt University and Charité Universtätsmedizin-Berlin.

Ahmed has received multiple awards and grants for his activities in research and education.

He has been a Mendeley advisor since September 2012, one of the first advisors in Egypt, and taught referencing management using Mendeley to hundreds of students worldwide.

Further details can be found on:

Website: http://www.ahmadsamir.com/

Mendeley Profile: https://j.mp/AlfaarMEND

LinkedIn: https://j.mp/AlfaarIN

ResearchGate: https://j.mp/AlfaarRG

 

Interested in becoming a Mendeley Advisor yourself? Find out more about the Advisor Community here

Mendeley Advisors Recruit 10,000 New Users in 2019 (Wow!)

(Right photo: Yahaya Gavamukulya, Left photo: Serge Kameni Leugoue)

As of early June, Mendeley Advisors introduced a whopping 10,000 people to the power of good reference management and research workflow this year! The ever-growing Advisor Community runs around 40 events per month, averaging a combined 2,500 attendees. We’d like to give a special thanks to super star Advisors Serge Kameni Leugoue (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy and University of Dschang – Cameroon.) and Yahaya Gavamukulya (Busitema University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Kenya) for welcoming user 10,000 during one of their events!

Congratulations and a big thanks to all of our Advisors for your help and hard work on this journey.  Mendeley is so much more than a reference manager – it is a strong community of academics from all disciplines and career stages, committed to improving the way we do research, from end-to-end.

Why and How to be a Mendeley Advisor   

Mendeley Advisors are network of over 5,000 passionate Mendeley experts across the world. They are our hands on the ground, helping potential users connect with the platform. We also consult with Advisors to understand the needs of users and to beta test new features.  You’re the first group we consult when we are considering adding a new functionality to the product. But the Mendeley Advisor program isn’t just about making Mendeley famous—there are also some nice perks for you:

  • Be the Mendeley representative on your campus (a nice thing to add to your CV)
  • Get a special Mendeley Advisor account with more groups and increased storage
  • Connect with the team behind Mendeley
  • Be the first to know what we are working on and get early access to new features
  • Get access to the exclusive Mendeley Advisor forum
  • Receive free Mendeley giveaways for events
  • And most importantly: get a flashy Advisor badge for your Mendeley profile so the whole world can see you’re a Mendeley guru!

Want to learn more about Advisors?  Read our Advisor of the Month column or apply on our Mendeley Advisor webpage. Have questions?  Reach out to the Community Team at community@mendeley.com. 

Advisor of the Month: Gustavo Bernardi Pereira, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

Since my childhood, I have been passionate about learning how things work as well as any quirky stuff I can find. Because of this “quirky stuff” side, I ended up starting a bachelor in physics and maths. However, something was missing… the “how things work” side. So, I decided to change my degree to Industrial Engineering at Federal University of Parana.

In the meantime, I got a scholarship to study MEng. Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Warwick. Back to the quirky stuff… my project was called “Manufacture of functional polymer-composite materials for electromagnetic applications by extrusion”. Even though it was a challenging project, my supervisor at the time suggested I use a reference manager called “Mendeley”. As most of the students, I did not pay enough attention to her and made it without using it.

Back in Brazil I began a Masters in Process Mining. As soon as I started studying it, I realized that working only on the research itself would consume much more energy than I expected (as you often have to redo your work). At this point I decided to optimize my research process. And I decided to follow my former supervisor’s advice and start using Mendeley.

Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?

Usually I like to balance two environments: loud and talkative (to generate the ideas) and quiet and surrounded by nature (to organise the ideas).

How long have you been on Mendeley? 

I first heard about it in 2013. However, it was only in 2016 I started exploring its features and using them effectively.

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?

I used to have a notepad file with a list of references, which I pasted in to the document at the end. When I found out what Mendeley could do for my research, I must confess I was bit sceptical in the beginning. As I started using it, the intuitive environment changed my mind and now I am very comfortable about swapping my notepad to Mendeley.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?

Seeing my Master’s peers struggling to finish a 6 page assignment because of the references brought my attention to simple problems around me. So I became an Advisor and since then I have been holding teaching sessions for many groups in the university.

Which researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

Leonardo da Vinci is one researcher I would like to meet and work with. Possibly because of his broad range of skills in different areas.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. The book talks about how decisions you assume are being made rationally sometimes are not really something you have a choice about.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

Well… some people say it is possible to use a biological virus to improve computing power hahaha https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsanm.8b01508

What is the best part about working in research?

Having your research used by someone else (to help someone, not to have citations) is the best part.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?

Dealing with egos, in my humble opinion, is the biggest challenge we have been facing in science as it jeopardises both the speed and the environment in which the research is made.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

Unless your notepad file still can solve your problems, use Mendeley…. for the greater good.

 

Follow Gustavo on Mendeley

Find out more about the Mendeley Advisor Community

Find out more about all-things Mendeley

Mendeley advisor of the month: Eric Kunto

Eric Kunto Aribowo is an Assistant Professor in Sociolinguistics at the Universitas Widya Dharma Klaten (Indonesia). His research highlights the language phenomenon of Arab descendants in Indonesia. Between 2016—2018, he received research grants from the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education. His last three publications are Disparity of the Arabic name: the spotlight on children of endogamous and exogamous marriages among Hadrami-Arabs in Indonesia, Arabic, Islamic, and Economy Linking: Onomastics on Business Name of People of Arab Descent in Indonesia, Trends in Naming System on Javanese Society: A Shift From Javanese to Arabic.

Later Eric Kunto Aribowo pursued open science and became involved as a Mendeley Advisor, Figshare ambassador, and INA-Rxiv contributor. In his spare time, he writes stories and shares his ideas at www.erickunto.com/blog.

How did you get into your field and what is your research story?

I am interested in Sociolinguistics, especially highlighting the language used by Hadrami- Arabs in Indonesia (Arabic descent), both oral and written. I’ve researched linguistic landscapes in Kampung Arab (like Chinatown for Arab descend), their personal name (onomastics), language spoken in religious and economic contexts, and the endogamy marriage patterns they do.

Where do you do your research/work the best? What kind of environment suits you?

Most of the research I did was not in the laboratory but where the data was gathered, especially in the Arab Village in Surakarta (Indonesia). Data collection is often done by participant observation, interviews, discussions conducted in their stores, coffee shops, their homes, sometimes in mosques. The research that I did made me have to be skilled at adapting to all situations and possibilities.

How long have you been on Mendeley? 

I have known about Mendeley since 2014 and started actively using it a year later. I became a Mendeley Advisor in mid-2018.

What were you using prior to Mendeley and how does Mendeley influence your research?

Before using Mendeley, I used RefMe to compile a list of references. Since I was active using Mendeley, I find it easier to do research, especially in reading and reviewing references, marking research findings, finding research gaps, and composing a web of mind when composing manuscripts. First, I read and gave Mendeley’s annotations and highlights in the iPad application, synchronized, and moved to Mac when writing a proposal or manuscript. The annotations I previously did manually (by paper), will now be saved safely thanks to Mendeley.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor and how are you involved with the program?

Most writers and researchers in my country still use manual/traditional ways to manage references. This causes a lot of time to be spent on this work, making us less productive. I’m eager to disseminate and teach the best experiences. I manage references using Mendeley to students, colleagues, lecturers, and researchers in Indonesia. This is the reason I joined the Mendeley Advisors.

Since becoming Mendeley Advisor in the middle of 2018, I have carried out a couple of trainings attended by approximately 160 participants who are students, doctoral students, and lecturers. One or two weeks before the training, I ask the participants to read and learn the material that I have made online and written in Indonesian at https://sites.google.com/unwidha.id/mendeley. In addition, I also provided a group on social media which was attended by the trainees as a forum for consultation and question-and-answer about Mendeley.

What researcher would you like to work with or meet, dead or alive?

I would love to work together and learn from researchers who are able to collaborate with other researchers who are outside the field and different countries, researchers who adopt technology in the research done, and most importantly, researchers who apply open science.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

The book I am currently reading is titled Citizen Science Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy by Susanne Hecker, Muki Haklay, Anne Bowser, Zen Makuch, Johannes Vogel & Aletta Bonn (editors), as I am now starting to apply open science in my research.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?

Open Access Week!! It is motivated me to keep research available to everyone so the people will get benefit from the research and take it further.

What is the best part about working in research?

The best part when doing research is getting to meet and know new people, getting new experiences from them, contributing to the world of science, and being part of a group of people who want to make this world better.

And the worst/most challenging part about working in research?

The most challenging part when doing Sociolinguistic research is the stage of data collection. At this step, researchers will often dive into certain communities which researchers often are outsiders. There will be a lot of energy coming out if researchers do not have strategic ways to enter the community.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

Mendeley is a freemium software (free but with premium features) that can help researchers to conduct research, ranging from tracing references, giving annotations and highlights, making quotes and bibliographies, collaborating with other researchers, and joining the global community in Mendeley social media.