Joining Mendeley as a Community Liaison in New York

Hello Everyone!

I am very excited to be joining the Mendeley Community Liaison team alongside William Gunn and Ricardo Vidal. I wanted to introduce myself in a bit more detail so you can get to know me and feel free to approach me about all things Mendeley.

I suppose it is a matter of geography, satisfaction, and a little bit of coincidence that I ended up joining Mendeley, so let’s start there. I have been in graduate school at Columbia University in New York for the past five years. In 2009, I completed my masters (Ed.M) in the Science Education program at Teachers College of Columbia and am currently a full time Ph.D student and researcher at Columbia. My research interests lie at the intersection of design, technology, and science. My thesis work will involve science teachers using game design to inform their inquiry pedagogys and exploring the relationships between play and learning science. My experiences with game design have been the inspiration for much of my work, but beyond this, they have led to my involvement in a research project funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation exploring the use of a mobile game as an alternative health strategy for those wishing to reduce smoking behaviors. It is through this project that I discovered Mendeley and our team has successfully been using it ever since.

As a student researcher, managing research papers and writing research documents can often be an all too tedious process. I always thought that there had to be something out there that could help. I had dabbled in other tools but was left unsatisfied until the day our research team was recommended Mendeley by a colleague. After exploring its capabilities and liking what we saw, we got on board and began using it not only as our reference management tool but also as a tool for collaboration and discovery of new sources. We used the shared collections features within our team to easily collaborate on research papers and we were also able to use it to find out what others in our field were reading by subscribing to their reading lists. I have been so happy to find Mendeley; it has helped me become more organized, find others who share similar interests, and above all its simple functionality has allowed it to seamlessly integrate into my academic life.

My story with Mendeley does not end there, however. As I was discovering Mendeley as a researcher, the tool was also brought up in my part time job at an educational innovation research group called EdLab. At EdLab, our goal was exploring new technologies in the education and research sectors. In this interest, we invited Victor Henning to our lab to give a presentation and I felt compelled to follow up. The relationship continued and I guess the rest is history!

So I am joining the Mendeley team not only because I believe in the mission that transparency and collaboration can move science and scholarship forward, but also because I have seen firsthand how valuable this tool can be. I am very excited to be a part of this innovative effort and, as a Community Liaison, I look forward to meeting many of you in our pursuit to change how research is done!

Jessica Mezei | Community Liaison| New York

Ian Mulvany is joining Mendeley!

We’re delighted to announce a brilliant addition to Team Mendeley – Ian Mulvany! At Nature Publishing Group, Ian was the product manager responsible for both Connotea (Nature’s social bookmarking service) and Nature Network (an academic social network/blogging platform). We had bumped into Ian at various events and conferences, and each time, we were excited and inspired by his thoughts about the future of scientific collaboration, communication, and publishing. It got to the point that we simply couldn’t resist trying to get him on our team – and I’m extremely happy to say we succeeded: Next Monday, Ian will become our VP of New Product Development! Hell yes.

So, over to Ian:


At the heart of the academic literature are conversations about how we understand the world.  The content and context of what researchers in the academy do is fundamentally important in constructing what it is to be human. The advent of a deeply interconnected world, and the growth of academic output has, unsurprisingly, led to a situation where it becomes difficult to get a clear understanding, or even a clear picture, of the diversity of what we know about the world. Though advances in communication have led us to this place of over-saturation, tools that help us manage and work our way through all of the information available to us have been slow to emerge.

Mendeley has made real progress in creating tools that can help researchers both manage, and make sense of what is going on in the literature. When I was approached by Jan, Victor and Paul I was impressed by what they had achieved so far, and even more impressed by what their future plans are. They have assembled an amazing team, and I see a great opportunity to work with them to make a positive impact on the daily life of people working with academic literature.

In my career to date I have worked for scientific publishers, first at Springer, and then at Nature Publishing Group. I’ve been fortunate to work closely with communities of scientists, to work with great people in the publishing industry, and to help build some pretty interesting things. A consideration, though, has often been on trying to understand how these tools can fit within the framework of existing publishing business models.

By moving to a start-up company, focussed on just doing one thing, and doing it really well, I see a chance to work on rapidly producing tools that innovate not only in what they offer, but also in the business models that support them. Those are some of the reasons (did I mention the amazing team already?) that I’m absolutely delighted that I will be joining Mendeley full time from Monday the the 28th of June.

Become a Mendeley University Advisor

Mendeley University Advisors are part of our award-winning and amazing project that will make researchers’, scientists’ and students’ working lives happier by creating the for research and by organizing the world’s academic research.

We want to invite YOU to be part of Mendeley by becoming a Mendeley University Advisor!

If you are a power user and are enthusiastic about Mendeley and what we want to achieve and you’d like to spread the word about us at your university – while receiving some great benefits along the way – now’s your chance!

We’re recruiting a select group of Mendeley University Advisors to be the official Mendeley representative at your university and to help us keep in touch with Mendeley’s growing userbase at your university.

What you’d do:

Spread the word about Mendeley in your university in any way that you’re comfortable with. Some things our current advisors at universities like Cambridge, Columbia, and Princeton do are:

  • Putting up posters
  • Giving presentations or demos, to classes and 1 on 1
  • Conducting teaching sessions
  • Forming local user communities
  • Introducing Mendeley at university libraries
  • Talking to friends and colleagues about Mendeley
  • or any other good ideas you might have!

Basically, you’re going to be our number one contact person at your university and the official Mendeley representative at your university. You’ll also help us better understand the needs of users, labs or departments at your institution, so we can keep improving Mendeley.

Some of the benefits:

Fame, glory, and you get to:

  • Be a part of the new way research is done – we want to make science and research more open and awesome!
  • Become the official Mendeley representative at your university, institution, or organization.
  • Get Mendeley’s premium features free of charge.
  • Get the opportunity to travel to another university or host a Mendeley presentation out of town.
  • Get to know our team and other Advisors from around the world and make important contacts.
  • Be the first to learn about what’s going on at Mendeley.
  • Get access to new features before others do.
  • Get access to our Mendeley advisor forum.
  • Have pizza and free drinks on Mendeley when you give a demo or talk at your institution.
  • Loads of free Mendeley swag (stuff like t-shirts, pens, stickers, etc.)!
  • Last but not least: Get a shiny advisor badge on your Mendeley profile (if you like)!

If you have any further questions, contact us at, or get in touch directly with our community liaisons, William or Ricardo.

William Gunn, PhD

Open Science Advocate, Assay Development Consultant and co-founder of
Twitter: @mrgunn
Community Liaison, Mendeley
San Diego, California, United States
Research field: Biological Sciences – Cellular Biology
Adult Stem Cell Research, Bone Biology, Statistical Analysis, Cancer, single molecule analytical techniques

Ricardo Vidal, M. Eng.

Ph.D. Candidate, Queen’s University
Twitter: @rvidal
Community Liaison, Mendeley
Kingston, Canada
Research field: Biological Sciences – Bioinformatics
Bioinformatics, Synthetic Biology, Stem cells, Oncology

Ready to go? Click here go to our Advisor signup page and join today!

Open Office Friday

A couple of days ago we had our second “Open Office Friday” where we invited our users to join us in our office for drinks, pizza and foosball. More importantly, however, we had the chance to talk face-to-face with our power users about how they use Mendeley and what features they would like to see added or improved.

As this Open Office Friday provided us with valuable feedback that will guide our future development decisions, and because it was a whole lot of fun, we said “Hey, why don’t we do this Open Office thing more often?”

And therefore we’re thrilled to announce that from now on we are going to have Open Office Friday more often! The next one is going to be at the end of June / beginning of July, more info following soon.

Here’s what some of our guests were saying:

The Mendeley-ers have a rare vibe that mixes the sharp thinking of a leading tech start-up with “young researcher out to change the world” enthusiasm. There was no shortage of BEvERages, pizza and friendly faces keen to talk about the trials and tribulations of research. It was also great as place to bounce around ideas with lots of cross-discipline discussion that is hard to find elsewhere.

I would heartily recommend the experience to anyone who needs to kick open their PhD bubble a bit or who wants to meet the folks who making world-leading steps into cracking Vannevar Bush’s half-century-old challenge [of making more accessible our bewildering store of knowledge].

— Nathan Eng, Engineering Design PhD student, University of Cambridge

I enjoyed the open evening.  It was good to learn a bit more about the company and its progress, to talk with people who are developing the next wave of Mendeley features, and to meet other users of the software.

— Frank Norman, Head of Library Services, MRC National Institute for Medical Research

It was great to meet the Mendeley team at the last Open Office Friday. If I am going to use a piece of software every day, it seems obvious to want to discuss my requirements with the people behind it; yet this relationship with users is very rare for a software company. Meeting the developers gave me great confidence in the Mendeley software, and I look forward to the exciting developments they have planned for the future.

— Peter Zeidman, Neuroscience MSc Student, University College London

I found their team to be young, vibrant, receptive and very friendly. They freely discussed all kinds of future updates and listened to all the participants’ concerns and feature requests. It is rare to find a company that keeps such an open relationship with its users. I was really pleased where Mendeley is going. Before this I had a few reservations but now I can whole-heartedly recommend Mendeley over any other bibliography/PDF paper storage/reference manager tool. Way to go Team Mendeley!

— Tauseef Khan, PhD Student, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

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:


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.

William Gunn joins Mendeley as Community Liaison

Hurray! William Gunn has joined us as Community Liaison! Ricardo Vidal became our first Community Liaison two weeks ago, so with William we have now doubled the brains and talent behind our outreach efforts. William has just completed his Ph.D. on adult stem cells and bone biology at Tulane University. On his blog Synthesis, he has also been writing about open science and social research software. Here’s the story (re-posted from Synthesis) on how he came to join us, in his own words:


'Taft in a wet t-shirt contest is the key image here.Reference managers and I have a long history. All the way back in 2004, when I was writing my first paper, my workflow went something like this:

“I need to cite Drs. A, B, and C here. Now, where did I put that paper from Dr. A?” I’d search through various folders of PDFs, organized according to a series of evolving categorization schemes and rifle through ambiguously labeled folders in my desk drawers, pulling out things I knew I’d need handy later. If I found the exact paper I was looking for, I’d then open Reference Manager (v6, I think) and enter the citation details, each in their respective fields. Finding the article, I’d select it and add it to the group of papers I was accumulating.

If it didn’t find it, I’d then go to Pubmed and search for the paper, again entering each citation detail in its field, and then do the required clicking to get the .ris file, download that, then import that into Reference Manager. Then I’d move the reference from the “imported files” library to my library, clicking away the 4 or 5 confirmation dialogs that occurred during this process. On to the next one, which I wouldn’t be able to find a copy of, and would have to search Pubmed for, whereupon I’d find more recent papers from that author, if I was searching by author, or other relevant papers from other authors, if I was searching by subject. Not wanting to cite outdated info, I’d click through from Pubmed to my school’s online catalog, re-enter the search details to find the article in my library’s system, browse through the system until I found a link to the paper online, download the PDF and .ris file (if available), or actually get off my ass and go to the library to make a copy of the paper.

As I was reading the new paper from the Dr. B, I’d find some interesting new assertion, follow that trail for a bit to see how good the evidence was, get distracted by a new idea relevant to an experiment I wanted to do, and emerge a couple hours later with an experiment partially planned and wanting to re-structure the outline for my introduction to incorporate the new perspective I had achieved. Of course, I’d want to check that I wouldn’t be raising the ire of a likely reviewer of the paper by not citing the person who first came up with the idea, so I’d have some background reading to do on a couple of likely reviewers. The whole process, from the endless clicking away of confirmation prompts to the fairly specific Pubmed searches which nonetheless pulled up thousands of results, many of which I wasn’t yet aware, made for extraordinarily slow going. It was XKCD’s wikipedia problem writ large.Read More »

Ricardo Vidal joins Mendeley as Community Liaison


Today we can announce another bit of news that makes us very happy! For a while, we’ve been looking for help in better engaging the academic community, involving it more in our roadmap decisions, and also understanding the needs of life scientists better. Consider this: We’re all social scientists, computer scientists and engineers here at Mendeley HQ, and we couldn’t pick this guy PubMed out of a police lineup.

Ok, I’m exaggerating (our next release of Mendeley Desktop, due next week, will enable manual PubMed ID lookups, and the next release after that will do PubMed lookups for all your PDFs automatically). However, the help we’ve been looking for has now arrived in the congenial, talented and Portuguese shape of Ricardo Vidal, author of My Biotech Life! You can see his picture on the top right, and his “silly microbe” design down on the left.

microbe_yellow_192x128Ricardo will become our first “Community Liaison”. While continuing on with his graduate studies, he’ll also devote a few  hours each week to interacting with other researchers on the blogosphere, Twitter, and other social media on Mendeley’s behalf.

I first came across Ricardo’s blog around June last year, because he had written an article about his research paper management needs. So I left a comment pointing him to Mendeley, and he asked for a few invitation codes to the then-ongoing private beta for his readers. We were happy to give him twenty, which were gone only hours after Ricardo offered them on his blog! We loosely stayed in touch ever since and were grateful for the continued support he’s given us over time.

For this announcement, I asked Ricardo to briefly introduce himself and describe why he decided to join us as a Community Liaison and what his hopes for Mendeley were. Here are his answers:

Let’s see… I’m currently concluding my Master of Engineering degree in Biological Engineering at the University of Algarve, in Southern Portugal. I’ve been blogging since 2006 at My Biotech Life and am also the co-founder of the DNA Network, a leading network of DNA-related blogs.  I also produce (sometimes silly) biotech graphics and logos from time to time.

Why I joined
Besides the fact that I am terrible at keeping my digital papers in order on my laptop or online, I believe that Mendeley represents not only a two-in-one solution for research paper management but also comprises another aspect that I consider of extreme importance, networking. The ability to contact and share your work with researchers alike is invaluable.

Hope/vision for Mendeley
Looking at the progress that has taken place since Mendeley’s launch, I can only hope that things keep evolving as they are now. The roadmap looks promising and the user feedback can only make it a better piece of software as time goes by.

As it has been stated, I also envision Mendeley to become the “ for Research Papers” where user statistics and networking play a vital part in research, by providing easier access and interaction to scientific information.

Are you looking for a research job?