Mendeley Advisor of the Month: July 2018

Mendeley july advisor of the month

Mendeley advisor of the month: Gabriel de Oliveira Ramos is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Artificial Intelligence Lab from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium). He obtained his PhD (with highest honours) and MSc degrees in Computer Science from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) in 2018 and 2013, respectively. Ramos’ research focuses on multiagent reinforcement learning and game theory, especially in the context of complex scenarios, such as traffic and smart grids.

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

I started to write my first computer programs at 14 and developed, since then, my passion for Computer Science. Not much later, during my bachelor’s first year, I got in contact with Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the first time and decided that AI would be my research field. In the following years, I developed my research on different AI topics, including machine learning, game theory, and planning. In all cases, my research has always been motivated by real-world problems, like traffic, electricity grids, and logistics. Moreover, the theoretical properties of my methods have always played a role in my research.

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

Any environment where I can balance insightful discussion sessions (with my peers) with silent study sessions. Good computer resources are also extremely useful, together with the traditional paper-and-pen combination.

How long have you been on Mendeley? 

I started using Mendeley in June 2013, just after I finished my masters, to organize the mess of my references at that time.

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

Keeping track of the literature is fundamental in science. Before using Mendeley, I had all my references grouped by topics into folders of my computer. The main problem, however, was to efficiently store my annotations and conclusions about such references. With Mendeley, I could finally store all my notes in an efficient and reliable way. Together with the nice search mechanism, it became easier for me to focus on my research.

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

I have been a Mendeley enthusiast since I started using it (indeed, it has considerably increased my productivity on specific tasks). As such, I always spread the word about it. Moreover, I contributed to Mendeley by suggesting important improvement several times. In this sense, I always felt as an informal advisor, which became a formal status in May 2015.

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

My work has been inspired by so many brilliant researchers that I could not mention all of them here. Among them, I should definitely highlight Prof. Avrim Blum (TTI-Chicago), Prof. Michael Bowling (UAlberta), and Prof. Tim Roughgarden (Stanford), whose works motivated (and shed light on) my PhD research.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

The second edition of Reinforcement Learning: An Introduction, by Sutton and Barto. It is always important to refresh such fundamental topics.

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

I attended some of the world’s most important conferences on Artificial Intelligence (ICML and AAMAS), and I enforced to myself the belief that, as a researcher, you should always be open-minded and eager for learning new things.

What is the best part about working in research?

You are always learning new ways of solving problems that could potentially improve people’s lives.

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

Sometimes (almost always, in fact) the answer is not the one you would expect. Although challenging, that is what moves science forward (and actually, that is one of the most exciting parts of doing science).

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

Mendeley really makes your reference management easier.

Supporting and recognizing your peer review activity

The vital role of reviewers in the academic publication process

The peer review process has existed in different forms for centuries, and continues to underpin research validation today. Although not without its flaws, many of which were raised in a 2016 survey of researchers by Elsevier, it’s still viewed as the fairest way to evaluate research quality.

However, reviewer contributions often go unseen, despite the critical role that they play in the system. With this in mind, we’ve been working on an initiative to help acknowledge the reviewer contributions of Mendeley users, in addition to what Mendeley already has to offer reviewers.

How Mendeley helps you as a reviewer

  • A private view on your reviewed publications

Mendeley users get a private view into the impact made by articles they have reviewed that were published in Elsevier journals, including how often the article has been viewed, cited and read. Their anonymity as a reviewer is maintained, as their reviewed publications are not visible to others.

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  • Public recognition of your peer review activity

We’re also excited to announce that we’ve partnered with the Open Researcher Contributor Identification Initiative (ORCID) to allow our users to import peer review records from their ORCID profile into their Mendeley profile, by connecting their ORCID ID to their Mendeley account.

We spoke to Alice Meadows, Director of Community Engagement and Support at ORCID, who said:

“We are delighted that Mendeley users can now connect their peer review activities in ORCID to their Mendeley records. Helping researchers get recognition for all their contributions, including peer review service, is at the heart of what ORCID does; this is a valuable step towards achieving this goal.”

As of 18th June 2018, 2,770 Mendeley users had made the connection with ORCID and are showcasing their reviewing activity on their profiles (with a total of 72,135 peer review entries), see for example https://www.mendeley.com/profiles/bahar-mehmani/.

If you are interested in adding your own reviewing activity to your profile, please look out for the link to connect with ORCID at the left hand side of your profile page.

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  • What’s next?

Mendeley will continue its efforts to recognize and support reviewers. We are therefore working to ensure peer review information from the majority of Elsevier journals can also be added to your public profile and we hope to roll out this functionality in the near future. Of course, reviewer anonymity will continue to be preserved, since the particular articles you have reviewed will not be disclosed.

Reviewers play a pivotal role in the academic publication process and without their valuable time and knowledge, the peer review validation system could not function.  Whilst universal recognition of review activities as a research output is a distance away yet, there’s been a growing number of initiatives supporting reviewer acknowledgment. At Mendeley, we are doing our part, working closely with our Elsevier colleagues whose pioneering efforts led to the launch of the Reviewer Recognition Platform in 2014. More about what Elsevier does to give reviewers due recognition can be found in this article.

 

 

Meet the team: Elizabeth Chesters

elizabeth chesters

Name: Elizabeth Chesters

Job title: UX Specialist

Intro bio (background): 

I’m Elizabeth, a user experience designer at Mendeley! My background is in Computer Science, and I’m a developer turned designer after studying Human-Computer Interaction. I’ve worked as both a developer and designer in a range of companies, moving from the agency and start-up life to in-house. Originally, I’m from the North of England, Manchester and have been braving London for the last 3 years.

When did you join Mendeley?

I joined Mendeley on the 18th December, 2017. It was definitely an interesting point of the year to join with most people on holiday!

What do you love most about your job?

I love the constant challenges of being a designer. There are so many ways to solve even the smallest of problems, which could actually have a huge impact on our users’ lives. Being a part of Mendeley, I’m beginning to understand the impact my design has on people’s lives and careers and how important my work is. I may not be finding a cure for cancer or training the next generation of ballerinas, but it feels amazing to be supporting those out there who are doing amazing work.

What book are you currently reading?

At the moment I’m studying how to be more inclusive with my designs, so, I’m reading A Web For everyone by Sarah Horton and Whitney Quesenbery. It’s fascinating how much it expands your thinking. For example, designing for someone only capable of using your product with one hand, whether that be because of a permanent loss of limb, they’ve broken their arm or they’re a parent holding a child. Anyone can be impaired at any moment!

What’s one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

The feature I want people to know about is the Watched Folders feature. This is where can setup a folder on your computer to be ‘watched’, in your Mendeley settings. Mendeley then automatically syncs every document you put into the folder. This means you can download documents onto your machine and you don’t have to manually drag and drop everything into your Library.

How would you explain your job to a stranger on a bus?

I always explain my job as “making the web and technology less rubbish and more friendly for people.” I try to understand why people become frustrated because Alexa doesn’t understand them or discover how products should look at night when people are up late.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

My users are probably the most exciting part of my job because of how varied they are. Working with new people every week keeps me on my toes. Every week we invite 8 users into the office, where we ask users to show us how they use Mendeley and gather feedback on our new products and designs. Each user has such unique research topics and intricate ways of using the same tool, which is fascinating to see.

What is your hidden talent?

I love learning languages and I can welcome and introduce myself in over 10 languages, including Arabic, British Sign Language, Sinhalese and Portuguese! My favourite part of coming into work in the morning is greeting each team member in their native language. People really appreciate the effort and it also helps break the ice when users come in for user research sessions.

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

Every day I’m learning how screen readers work. Some screen readers actually pay attention to the visuals on the page. So, VoiceOver for Mac will group elements based on their visual style and if they look similar, like 5 words which look like 5 tags.

Meet the team: Daniel Christie

daniel christe

Daniel, residing in Philadelphia, PA is our main Mendeley Advisor Community contributor.  He brings a background in mechanical engineering & materials science research, and has been a long-time Mendeley user. We took some time with Daniel to find out what he loves about his job, and of course Mendeley!

How long have you been a researcher? 

I date my start in the research world from my high school days, so that works out to about 10 years. In that time I’ve gone from microfluidics, to drug delivery systems, to functional fabrics and other forms of 3D printed material systems to understand the way they deform and fail.

What excites you about serving the Mendeley Advisor Community? 

The energy & enthusiasm of a global group of researcher from all fields imaginable…there are fantastic discussions brewing in the community each and every day.

What book did you most recently read? 

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow…it’s a riveting, data-driven look at this amazing time we currently live in and what may lie ahead in our future.

What’s one thing you want people to know about Mendeley? 

That it’s an awesome research productivity tool – accessible wherever you are. Mendeley is a powerful way to not only annotate, organize, and cite reference – you can also share data and discover your next career opportunity.

How would you explain your current work to a stranger on a bus?

I blend my technical background with my passion for evidence-based learning strategies to help the world’s scientists and engineers work more productively and effectively.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

I love traveling out to university campuses & conferences to show researchers new, slick ways of working with Mendeley. You might be surprised how many still don’t use reference managers, even in 2018…it totally transforms their world.

What keeps you awake at night?

Netflix. Otherwise, I sleep well most nights, so the saying doesn’t exactly work for me.

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

I come across plenty of interesting things every week I look for data points that point toward the future. One thing top-of-mind this week is that Tesla outsells Lexus and BMW, and is catching up to Mercedes quickly. That is impressive.

What do you think will be the next big discovery or development in your field? 

The tools that engineers use are becoming more intelligent and powerful by the day…from ideation to fabrication.  I think we’re on the cusp of an exciting era where we blend the best of human creativity with machine-partners to make us vastly more productive. For instance, true “computer-aided” design tools are coming online now. They leverage high performance computing algorithms to take problem descriptions and algorithmically synthesize thousands of potential designs that meet the goals and constraints, in the time it’d take an engineer to manually draw one design.

 

Mendeley Advisor of the Month: May 2018

Mendeley advisor of the month: Dr Jordan Steel, Assistant Professor Cell Biology, Molecular Virology, Colorado State University.

Colorado State University-Pueblo faculty member Dr. Jordan Steel received the 2017 National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) Four-Year College & University Biology Teaching Award for his highly innovative project- and team-based learning approach to his courses. A native of Albuquerque, NM, he has lived in Colorado since 2008 and enjoys spending time with his family hiking, biking, fishing, playing games, and going on adventures together to discover the amazing world we live in.

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

I have always been interested in microbiology and have been fascinated with the molecular basis of life. From 2005-2007, I lived in the Philippines and experienced first-hand the devastation caused by mosquito-borne viral infections. Upon returning to the US, I applied and started graduate school at Colorado State University’s Arthropod-borne Infectious Disease Lab (AIDL) to study viral pathogens such as Dengue virus and West Nile Virus. My Ph.D. dissertation worked primarily with alphaviruses and modifying the viral genome to develop reporter systems within cell lines and genetically modified mosquitoes to enhance our detection of viral infection. Near the end of my Ph.D., I worked on a project on how viral infection induces oxidative stress during infection. I fell in love with this project and later moved on to a Postdoc position to study viral manipulation of host cell metabolic pathways during Dengue virus infection. I am now an assistant professor and have my own research group and we are actively working to understand how viruses modify cellular physiology in order to create an optimal environment for viral replication.

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

Away from home! (I have 4 kids at home and I always joke around with my colleagues that I can’t get any work done at home).  Honestly, I work well in fast-paced environments with lots going on.  I enjoy the thrill and the pressure of working with lots of projects and trying to keep on top of all the demands. It can be hectic and busy, but the productivity that comes from groups with lots happening is very exciting.

How long have you been on Mendeley? 

I can’t remember the date exactly, but I can remember how it has changed my life. It was probably 2011 or 2012 and I was working to finish my Ph.D., I was unhappy with the other citation/reference managing software available and then a friend showed me Mendeley and it has changed my life! I use it almost every day since then!

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

I was using Endnote before I found Mendeley, but now I am a convert and advocate for everything Mendeley! Mendeley is the one-stop shop for all things research. It manages all of my references, allows easy annotations, helps me quickly find papers and notes from the past, and even finds and suggest articles that I should be reading! I love it!

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

I actually contacted Mendeley and asked to be an advisor. I teach lots of classes in our biology department and one of the first things I teach in my courses is about Mendeley. Every student and person working in biological sciences needs to know about Mendeley. I asked Mendeley if I could become an advisor and help share the good news about Mendeley and they were kind enough to accept me.

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

So many great people to choose from, but I would love to meet Jonas Salk- the developer of the poliovirus vaccine. As a virologist myself, I have always been impressed and fascinated with his work and commitment to the research that he was doing! He even injected the vaccine on himself before it was fully approved. His work has saved millions of lives and it would be an honor to meet and talk virology with him.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (remember that I have 4 kids at home), other than that I have been reading my Mendelian Genetics textbook because I am teaching genetics this semester and, well, it has been a long time since I took a genetics class.

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

From reading my genetics textbook- Laron Syndrome is an autosomal recessive disorder that results in a short individual (due to a mutated growth hormone receptor) and also makes them resistant to certain types of cancer and diabetes.

What is the best part about working in research?

I love that each day is something different. We are always working on new problems and new questions. I also love the quality of people that I get to work with. I have decided that scientists are the best kind of people. I love my colleagues and the always changing research environment.

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

Funding. No explanation needed.

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

Mendeley is the best. It is literally the answer to all of your problems and will make your life easier and better immediately. Everyone needs to know about Mendeley and use it in their research endeavors!

Scientific research is hard …so you have to enjoy it!

Today we’re talking to Tim Donohoe, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and Editor of Tetrahedron Letters.

What are your research interests/describe a typical working day
“I research organic chemistry in the broadest sense, but am particularly interested in total synthesis and catalysis.” Tim leads a research team of 16-20 people, a mixture of graduates/undergraduates plus postdoctoral researchers. “My job is to support them and together do the best research possible.” As well as this, Tim is also responsible for teaching and has various administrative duties. What’s more, he’s also an editor for Tetrahedron Letters! 

How do you measure success in your work?
“One thing that gets my fist pumping is when we get a really nice piece of work accepted for publication. Or when a grant gets funded – we can then do more research! Another thrill is when a member of the group gets a job (especially if it’s in chemistry!).”

Do you have any particular advice for younger researchers?
“Scientific research is hard”, says Tim “…so you have to enjoy it! The opportunity to have a job you enjoy is a privilege. If you enjoy it, work at it to be best you can be. Read widely. Make sure you are good at communicating science – presentations, writing at the board and that sort of thing.”

What drove you to become an Editor?
“I was invited!” Tim started his editorial work with the journal in January 2014. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of editorial work for you and what do you find difficult about the role?
In terms of reward, Tim finds it pleasing to be able to “help get great science published”. He sees his job to help the journal and grow its reputation. He also likes helping researchers around the world. “It’s great to see a manuscript coming back with helpful referees’ comments, then see the improvements in the revised version.” What’s not so good is having to make difficult decisions. Sometimes papers are “in the middle” – which way to go? Occasionally referees’ comments are short and unhelpful to both the author and the editor – so then one’s left in a quandary. 

What professional use (if any) do you make of social media and/or scholarly collaboration tools like Mendeley?
Tim does make use of some tools. Not much social media though. Tim finds Mendeley helpful to share ideas with other editors and Elsevier staff: the group discussion aspect is useful. “At the TET conference in Budapest – we had a virtual poster symposium. You could join the [Mendeley] group and look at the science that was being presented. You could comment and interact, even from home. That was great as it gave those unable to attend a chance to participate.” Tim doesn’t use Twitter as an active user but browses journals’ feeds.

If we could build a tool/device to help you most in your career or editorial work; what would it be?
If we’re looking at a scientific demand then something that would help organic chemistry research, in particular catalytic reactions. “There’s a lot going on in a catalytic reaction. If a particular reaction doesn’t work, we don’t know why. What we need is a simple way of working out WHY: some way of interrogating unsuccessful interactions!”

Have you any particular interests in what remains of your time apart from university and editorial work?
“Family! Squash. And I go to the gym to keep fit.”

Tim was interviewed by Christopher Tancock

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