The science of tomorrow will require the data from today
All the information underpinning research articles offers value to other researchers: raw and processed data, protocols and methods, machine and environment settings, and scripts and algorithms. Sharing and using such research data can increase the impact, validity, reproducibility, efficiency, and transparency of research.
To unlock the true potential of research data, the Mendeley Data team believe that there is a need to move beyond solely making data available and find a dependable solution that enables data to be stored, shared and re-used. So we launched Mendeley Data. When collaborating with the research community to develop Mendeley Data, we followed four guiding data principles:
Data needs to be discoverable
Data needs to be comprehensible
Researchers should be able to take ownership of their data
Research data management (RDM) solutions need to be interoperable.
Striving for superior data management for researchers
No one can solve RDM challenges alone, nor can one business unleash the full potential of research data sharing. However, through following core data principles, and continually evaluating and improving the RDM solutions built on our Mendeley Data platform, we hope to be able to contribute to supporting researchers discover the value of their data .
On Twitter, with typical understatement, it was compared to the Rebel Alliance joining the Galactic Empire, to peasants posing as a human shield for Kim Jong-Un, and to Austin Powers teaming up with Dr Evil.
It’s true that, when I was 13, I played through X-Wingon my Amstrad 486 PC, then had fun playing an Empire pilot in the TIE Fightersequel — and I’m also half Korean. So while my colleagues are busy mounting the frickin’ laser beams onto the heads of the sharks we brought in to replace our foosball table, I thought I would address some of the other concerns and questions that were raised.
What is the “real” reason for Elsevier acquiring Mendeley?
The question that emerged most frequently, sometimes in the tone of conspiratorial whispers, was about the “real” reason Elsevier acquired Mendeley. Surely there must be a man behind the curtain with a devious masterplan? Not quite. In my mind, it’s straightforward: Elsevier is in the business of providing scientific information to the academic community. In order to serve academics better, it acquired one of the best tools for managing and sharing scientific information. Elsevier can now provide its customers with solutions along the entire academic workflow: Content discovery & access, knowledge management & collaboration, and publication & dissemination. Mendeley provides the missing link in the middle, and brings Elsevier closer to its customers. This makes intuitive sense to me, and I hope you can see the rationale, too.
But what will Elsevier do with Mendeley’s data?
Some people voiced concerns that Elsevier wanted Mendeley’s data to clamp down on sharing or collaboration, sell the data on in a way that infringes our users’ privacy, or use it against them somehow. We will not do any of those things. Since the announcement, we have already upgraded our Mendeley Advisors to free Team Accounts, and are currently reviewing how we can make collaboration and sharing easier for everyone on Mendeley. Also, I want to be clear that we would never pass on our users’ personal data to third parties, or enable third parties to use our users’ data against them.
Of course, Mendeley’s data does have commercial value. Even before the Elsevier acquisition, Mendeley was “selling user data” — but in an aggregate, anonymized fashion – to university libraries: The Mendeley Institutional Edition (MIE) dashboard contains non-personal information about which journals are being read the most by an institution’s faculty and students. Librarians use this information to make better journal subscription decisions on behalf of their researchers, and more than 20 leading research institutions in North America, Europe, and Asia have signed up since its launch last summer.
Mendeley’s Open API also offers aggregate, anonymized usage data, though on a global rather than institutional basis. Mendeley gives this data away for free under a Creative Commons CC-BY license. It’s being used by tools like ImpactStory.org or Altmetrics.com, which are building business models around altmetrics data. Again, you could argue that Mendeley’s usage data is being “sold”, and even sold by third parties. However, as you can see, the general principle is that the data is used only for positive purposes, like analyzing research trends and scholarly impact, without violating the privacy of Mendeley users. That’s how we will keep it in the future, and this applies to any usage of the data by Elsevier or via our Open API.
So how will Elsevier make money off Mendeley?
The existing Mendeley offering will continue to be free, so that we can continue to grow our user base as we have in the past, and we will also integrate Mendeley into Elsevier’s existing offerings like ScienceDirect or Scopus to increase their value. This actually means that we’re now under less short term pressure to monetize Mendeley’s individual users. When we were an independent start-up, we had to think about charging for every new or additional feature, in order to get to break even. Now, we can think more about the long term again.
For example, this enabled us to double our users’ storage space for free immediately after the Elsevier announcement. We had previously also planned to make the sync of highlights & annotations in our forthcoming new iOS app a premium feature – today, we decided instead that it will be free for all users, and thus also free for all third-party app developers to implement. And, as mentioned above, we are currently reviewing our collaboration features to see if we can expand them for free, too.
Lastly, what does your new role in the strategy team at Elsevier mean in practice?
Along with the Elsevier news last week, it was announced that I would – in addition to my role at Mendeley – be joining the Elsevier strategy team as a VP of Strategy. A number of our users and Mendeley Advisors have asked what this will mean in practice, and how my input would be taken onboard.
I’ve been in Amsterdam this week to meet some of my new colleagues and exchange ideas — it’s been genuinely enjoyable and inspiring, so we’re off to a very promising start. I’ve been asked to support them in sharing not just Mendeley’s features, but also Mendeley’s experiences and user-centric values with the Elsevier organization, and to keep pushing the ideas that have made Mendeley successful. Conversely, I will also work on how to best bring Elsevier’s tools, data, and content onto the Mendeley development roadmap and into our users’ daily workflow.
We’re not short of amazing ideas, and you have shared some really exciting suggestions with us as well – the challenge will be to pick the best ones and actually get them done. As always, we will be listening closely to your feedback on how to improve our products and set our development roadmap. Watch this space!
I’m here at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View for Open Science Summit. This is my third year at the conference and it’s so great to see so many familiar faces. I’ll be talking about the developments in open access over the past few years and updating this page as the day progresses.
9:00 – The day starts off with Tyler Neylon recounting the story of the Cost of Knowledge petition. He’s drawing from a historical view to project into the future of open access.Read More »
I recently had the chance to sit down with Barry Bunin to talk about his new drug discovery platform, Collaborative Drug Discovery. As you may guess from the title, he’s taking a novel approach to drug discovery. Modern drug discovery faces huge challenges due to the economic inefficiency of the process where hundreds of millions of dollars must be spent to discover one new drug. The current model also makes it difficult to capitalize on all the interesting but not immediately drug-relevant data that’s generated in the process. CDD’s approach promotes collaboration as opposed to the traditional approach where different teams at different companies repeat much of the same work and suggests that companies will actually share information that leads to a mutual benefit, provided there’s a easy and secure way to do so. I’m delighted to share this interview with you of yet another company showing how openness and collaboration works for business.Read More »
We, along with PLoS, have been overwhelmed by the huge response that academics and the developer community have given to open up science. When we announced this contest to develop science applications on top of the Mendeley and PLoS platforms last March, we were not totally sure that anyone would even be interested. Boy, were we wrong!
Tim O’Reilly, Founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media and one of five all-star judges, said this about the Binary Battle –
“I always tell developers to work on stuff that matters. It’s time to stretch beyond the consumer internet, and what better place to focus than on furthering the cutting edges of science?”
Mendeley launched the API platform in April of 2010 with the hope that it would 1) spur innovation in the science ecosystem and 2) send a signal to others that opening up data benefits everyone. To date, more than 1000 developers have applied for API keys to build on top of that data. With the Binary Battle announcement, we hoped to carry open science further and by all accounts we did.
Today we announce the winners of the 2011 Mendeley-PLoS Binary Battle. We narrowed the Binary Battle entries down to the Top 10+1, and then handed the voting over to our list of expert judges (Werner Vogels, Juan Enriquez, Tim O’Reilly, James Powell, and John Wilbanks. We also opened the vote up to the public to count as 1/6 and combined with the judges. It was great to see that both the public voting and the judges voting correlated very well. It was so close for many of the apps, but one stood out to both the judges and the public….Read More »