Mendeley Advisor of the Month: Narendra Kumar

narendra

Narendra Kumar is an Assistant Professor at The Institute of Technology Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand (India). He teaches Technical Communication. He is also enrolled as a PhD student at The Language and Cognition Lab, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar (India). He obtained his M.A degree in Linguistics from Banaras Hindu University Varanasi (India). Kumar’s research work focuses on the Neurophysiological correlates of semantic prediction during language comprehension.

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

 The question ‘how the human brain knows, what it knows?’ has always intrigued me. Here when I say the term ‘know’, I specifically mean ‘information’, not in the sense of knowledge as a whole in human beings. It is quite apparent that the prime carrier of information is natural language. In our everyday life, we comprehend a sentence so easily and smoothly that no one questions how the human brain processes various linguistic information viz. phonological morphological, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic etc. of every word in milliseconds. I started my PhD in 2013 to explore similar questions on the basis of electrophysiological (Event-Related Potentials) evidence from Hindi, a split-ergative and verb-final language. My research is focused on investigating the processing of semantic information during on-line language comprehension of Hindi sentences. The neurophysiological studies on processing syntactic information in typologically different languages have exhibited substantial differences. So, my research work aims to explore if the processing of semantic information also exhibits neurophysiological differences cross-linguistically.

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

I love to work in the lab or the library. I need a peaceful environment to work dedicatedly. Indeed, I enjoy working in a creative and challenging environment where I can push myself beyond the comfort zone to learn new things.

How long have you been on Mendeley? 

I have been using Mendeley since October 2014. I learnt about Mendeley when I was learning inserting Bibliography in LaTeX from the youtube channel of Chandra Has.

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

In the first year of my PhD, I used Endnote but didn’t feel comfortable using it, within few months I came across Mendeley. After using Mendeley once, I realized it was a one-stop solution to organize every research activity. Infact, Mendeley saved a lot of time which I used to waste in renaming and keeping PDF files in different directories according to their use.  Mendeley organizes all these PDF files in a library format and helps to retrieve them easily. Apart from citation and reference writing, I use Mendeley as a tool for reading as its PDF viewer allows me to highlight texts, adding notes and tags which has helped me keeping notes organized in the article itself. Moreover, I love two other features of Mendeley the most, they are Mendeley Web Plugin and the suggestion of article based on the documents in my library.

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

 I believe in the philosophy of sharing and spreading of knowledge and information, as mentioned in the following Sanskrit shlok (couplet):

अपूर्व: कोऽपि कोशोऽयं विद्यते तव भारति !

व्ययतो वृद्धिमायाति क्षयमायाति सञ्चयात् ॥ (सुभाषितानि)

[Translation: O Bharati (Goddess of learning)! This indescribable treasure of yours is unique – by expending it grows and by hoarding it diminishes! – Subhashitani (Sanskrit: dated back 5000BC)]

Once realised Mendeleys importance for a research student, I started sharing its features with my PhD pursuing friends. Within a few months of joining Mendeley, I attended a Mendeley event in a nearby institute and as a result decided to become an advisor to organize workshops myself. I have organized a number of workshops in my institute and nearby institutes.

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

In today’s world every linguist has a dream to meet Noam Chomsky at least once. He is a living legend as the “father of modern linguistics” and one of the “makers of twentieth century” (London Times 1970). In addition, I would like to meet Steven Pinker (Harvard University), Marta Kutas (University of California-SD), Angela Friederici (MPI, Leipzig), Peter Hagoort (MPI, Nijmegen), David Poeppel (NYU) and Ray Jackendoff (Tufts University) whose works have contributed a lot to the discussion of language, mind and brain.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

These days I am reading two books Neurosemantics (2016) by Plebe & Cruz and Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker.

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

This week, I reviewed research articles based on the prediction approach of language comprehension. Prediction is one of the essential attribute of language comprehension system, yet researchers do not agree on what prediction is or what constitutes evidence for it.

What is the best part about working in research?

As a researcher, I have started believing in the philosophy of Albert Einstein: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” What I like the most about working in research is that one can enjoy his/her whole life as a student/learner where there is always something new to learn and new problems to solve.

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

The most frustrating thing for a researcher is when you do not get the results as expected after spending months/years on a problem. In such case also, supervisors/PIs don’t look at your hard work/labour, instead they start criticizing your potentials and working styles.

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

Mendeley is the best on-stop solution for all research activities. Every academician/researcher should use Mendeley as it makes the life of a researcher organized and smooth.


Biography in Brief

Narendra Kumar is an Assistant Professor at Institute of Technology Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand (India). He teaches Technical Communication to the students of B.Tech. Along with he is also enrolled as a PhD student at Language and Cognition Lab, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar (India). He obtained his M.A degree in Linguistics from Banaras Hindu University Varanasi (India). Kumar’s research work focuses on the Neurophysiological correlates of semantic prediction during language comprehension.


Mendeley: Everything a Researcher Needs to Succeed

Researchers work very hard, often for little reward, and usually under considerable stress. While the satisfaction of discovery, and the prestige of developing a scientific breakthrough are certainly fulfilling, you can rarely sit back and celebrate. Have I shown independent thought? Does my discovery stand out? What if someone else is working on this same problem? Will the results of my research make a difference to society? Am I building a career here? Will funding sources consider this exciting enough to merit financing? Am I working as efficiently as I can?

Elsevier understands that you’re forced to do more with less. You have to chart your own course, promoting yourselves to a multitude of people and seeking recognition wherever possible. As your career progresses, you have to succeed both as individuals and team leaders. But you don’t have to do it alone, thanks to Elsevier’s online research workflow ecosystem known as Mendeley. Mendeley adds value to every step of your career, whether you’re a doctoral student, post-doc, assistant professor or principal investigator. It makes you feel empowered, organized, confident and connected. And best of all, it’s free!

The Research Landscape is Changing

The life of a researcher is a study in contradictions. You have more opportunities than ever to discover, to make an impact and to interact with their peers. But with all the conveniences that have made research easier – online resources, technology-driven tools, open access, virtual professional communities – you still face many of the same challenges…some with a new twist. First, while there is still a scramble for research funding, it is beginning to shift from local to global. While Europe is ahead of the United States in this trend, it’s a factor to be considered when you’re seeking financial backing. Broad-based collaboration is also more prevalent, especially among younger researchers. Depending upon the problem being explored, the location and the source(s) of funding, a collaborative approach may be best for a new research project.

Research from emerging markets is increasing in volume and value. Researchers from these areas are more egalitarian and likely to collaborate, and need more resources in their own languages as well. Open science continues to be a priority among researchers, as it enables you to collaborate and see a shared impact more easily. However, you also continue to search for more entry points to open science. In addition, the increasing importance of using new technologies, like artificial intelligence, challenges you to keep up with the latest developments without losing focus on your research topics.

Many universities also are changing their model relative to research, with entrepreneurship becoming a growing initiative. Forming companies out of research initiatives is a draw to younger researchers, and an investment for the institutions. It can provide them with a revenue stream, a partnership with outside corporations or both. At the same time, universities are competing harder than ever for every research dollar. They need to attract, and keep, top-tier faculty and students, whose success stories will in turn propel them into the forefront for the next generation of researchers.

When You’re Leading the Charge, Choose a Multi-Faceted Tool

Given this scenario, it’s more important than ever for you to be supported in all facets of your career, from organizing your research and collaborating with other researchers worldwide to sharing datasets and seeking career opportunities. Think of Mendeley as the Swiss Army Knife® of resources for a research vocation. Just like a Swiss Army Knife, Mendeley is a single entity with multiple parts, a unified environment. And it’s likely that you will use the “knife” portion of Mendeley, Reference Management, most often. But there are other convenient tools within Mendeley – Research Network, Data, Careers and Funding – that are unique and equally valuable in enabling your success. For every research need, Mendeley has a solution.

Focus on Doing Your Research, Not Managing It

While you’re busy shaping the future, Mendeley Reference Management makes you more efficient. You spend less time on document management and more time on your research. The Mendeley Reference Manager enables you to easily organize and search a personal library, annotate documents and cite as you write. It automatically captures information such as authors, title and publisher, which makes organization and browsing easy. You can create a profile, as well as start and join groups to find inspiring people and information.

Mendeley’s Citation Plugin is compatible with Word and LibreOffice, so you can generate citations and bibliographies while you write. You can also annotate on documents as you read, or share documents with groups of colleagues and annotate them together. Reference Manager gives you the option to easily import papers and other documents from your desktop, your existing libraries or websites.

Communities Keep You Connected – and In the Know

Mendeley Research Network hosts a global community of more than eight million researchers in every field from institutions worldwide. You can create a research profile, including a curated list of your publications and affiliations, and discover others in your research network. Then you can join groups or start one of your own – either public or private – to engage with your peers.

Based on your interests, Mendeley delivers personalized suggestions for articles to read and people to follow. You can also set alerts to make sure you don’t miss any activity in your network, keeping you connected and informed.

Do You Know Where Your Data Is?

Mendeley Data optimizes the discoverability of your data and fosters teamwork, by facilitating the improved management of your datasets. It’s a secure cloud-based open science repository, so your data is easy to share, access and cite from any location. When you use Mendeley Data, you control who gets to use your data; you can share your data only with colleagues and co-authors before publication, or publish your data to the world. Mendeley Data also supports versioning, simplifying longitudinal studies. Best of all, your data is accessible and archived for as long as you need it by Data Archiving & Networked Services.

Move Up or Move Out

Realistically, that’s the mantra of a researcher’s career.  Mendeley Careers is the world’s largest free online search engine for career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and medicine. It enables you to match your profile and expertise to more than 200 thousand posted opportunities. You can upload your CV and get job alerts via the smart notification system, ensuring that you don’t miss any golden opportunities. You can also use Mendeley Careers to identify the top talent you’d like to add to your team.

Show Me the Money

How much time do you spend trying to find the funding that you and your team members need? If you use Mendeley Funding, it could be a lot less. Elsevier aggregates and catalogs relevant grant information from more than two thousand organizations worldwide – including US government agencies, the European Union, and UK Research councils – to help you find the right fit for your research. Each organization has its own Mendeley Funding page, and you can easily browse and bookmark favorites for future reference. Timely opportunities are key; Elsevier constantly updates the Mendeley funding index to ensure that you have the latest opportunities at your fingertips.

It’s a Personal Assistant, a PR agent and a Milestone Enabler

As your research career advances, you take on more managerial responsibility, leaving you less time to devote to hands-on work. But to move your research forward, and succeed in your career, you need to focus more on the success of your work with your collaborators and less on personal “doing.”

Mendeley is designed to assist you in making this shift. The Elsevier team behind Mendeley is made up of former researchers, data scientists, and process engineers, who are dedicated to empowering you and taking the friction out of teamwork. Mendeley can help you organize your work, assemble a talented team, connect and collaborate, share data, get funding, and stay up to date on trends – so you can maximize the value of your work with your collaborators and the impact of your research.

You’ll form many partnerships during your career, and Mendeley should be one of them. If you haven’t tried Mendeley yet, what are you waiting for?

Get Started!

Meet the Team: Adrian Raudaschl

Name: Adrian Raudaschl

Job title: Product Manager

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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 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

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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

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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