Leading universities adopt Mendeley data to accelerate research analytics by 3 years

This week, leading academic institutions in North America, Europe, and Asia signed up to Mendeley’s new data dashboard, the Mendeley Institutional Edition. The dashboard analyses their research activity and impact on the global research community in real time – down from the 3-5 year time lag of the “Impact Factor”, the current gold standard for such evaluations. This allows academic institutions to react faster to their faculty’s research needs and provide them with quicker, more personalised support during the research process – thus accelerating the pace of scientific discovery for all of us.

Readership statitics in Mendeley Institutional EditionThe Impact Factor, a measure of the number of citations an academic journal receives, is a pivotal metric of science: Academics have to publish in high-Impact Factor journals to receive promotions, tenure, or grant funding, and universities allocate their million-dollar library budgets to those same high-Impact Factor journals. This is despite the Impact Factor’s many known flaws – the most limiting of which is that the citations it is based on take 3-5 years to accumulate.

This week’s release of Mendeley’s Institutional Edition, distributed by leading Dutch library subscriptions agent Swets, brings research impact measurement to real-time speed, while also providing more granular and social metrics of how academic research is consumed, discussed, and annotated. It allows research institutions to see detailed analytics of the journals their academics are reading, the journals they are publishing in, and how many readers those publications have. This data is built on Mendeley’s global research community of more than 1.8 million academics who are using the startup’s tools for document management, discovery, and collaboration.

The first customers of Mendeley’s data dashboard are premier international research institutions: Two prominent universities on the East Coast and in the Bay Area, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Nevada, Reno, the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council Japan.

Speaking of the announcement, Dr. Tod Colegrove, Head of DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library at University of Nevada, Reno, said: “Rather than spending vast amounts of staff resources attempting to quantify usage of existing library resources – remaining largely unaware of past and present use outside of the library’s current subscribed offerings – Mendeley offers a unique and immediate lens into the library’s researchers’ information behaviours. Purchase decisions can be informed directly by past and present actual use of potential library resources, rather than being left to the increasingly less relevant the-way-we’ve-always-done–it model of serials management.” His colleague Lisa Kurt added: “The collaborative nature of Mendeley is a game changer for our institution where departments and colleges are working to break through their silos and focus on the best parts of the work they do. Mendeley is solving a very real problem in a rather elegant way.”

At the University of Western Ontario, Head Librarian Joyce Garnett commented: “Western Libraries is proud to be an early adopter of Mendeley Institutional Edition, a significant addition to our digital toolbox. It will facilitate citation management for individual researchers, collaboration for research groups, and, through its analytics capacity, enable librarians to assess the relevance and use of our collections. Mendeley is unique, growing its database organically through the choices and preferences of researchers as they create and disseminate new knowledge.”

In a bid to develop alternatives to the Impact Factor, new research metrics startups such as altmetric.com and total-impact.org have already turned to Mendeley’s readership data, and several peer-reviewed studies have recently highlighted its positive correlation with the Impact Factor. Dr. Victor Henning, CEO and co-founder of Mendeley, said: “I’m excited that after receiving scientific validation from the research community, our data is now helping some of the world’s best universities work more efficiently and get to life-changing discoveries faster. My inner nerd is going: Wow, this is freaking amazing.”

Mendeley Institutional Edition screenshots: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mendeley/sets/72157630651813190/

One million articles uploaded to Mendeley!

articles-uploadedWe passed a landmark today: As of 16.50h GMT, our users have uploaded one million articles to their Mendeley accounts! Including the cited references which Mendeley also extracts from research papers, we now have over 14 million metadata sets in our database. Even we were surprised by the speed in which this has happened!

For the record, the millionth article added to our database was “The somatic marker hypothesis: A critical evaluation by Dunn et al. (2006) in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews – as luck would have it, that’s a topic related to my personal research on the role of emotions in decision making! The closest publication by one of our users, Joaquin Rivera, was added at 17.01h – a maths paper titled “On the exact multiplicity of solutions for boundary-value problems via computing the direction of bifurcations”, available for download on Joaquin’s Mendeley profile.

90% of these one million articles have been uploaded since January 2009, and our database is currently doubling in size every 6 weeks. For comparison, venerable PubMed – the largest database of biomedical literature – contains 18,813,527 records as of today. Assuming we managed to keep up our growth, we could surpass the size of the PubMed database within the next 6 months!

Roughly 43% of the papers in our database are in the biological and medical sciences (even though only about 27% of users are working in these academic disciplines). Computer and information science comes in second with roughly 11% of all papers, followed by engineering with 7%, and chemistry, physics, psychology and other social sciences with 4-5% each.

As we’ve said before on this blog and elsewhere (e.g. see my talk at the Plugg Conference), we’re not hoarding all that data just because we can, no Sir! Our vision is to create the largest open, interdisciplinary and ontological database of research – as crazy as that sounds, remember that Last.fm (whose former chairman and COO are our co-founders and investors) pulled it off in the space of music within just three years, using the same user data-aggregation model that Mendeley is built on.

We’ve already begun to report real-time “usage-based” research trends – a nice discussion of Mendeley statistics showing the most-read journal in the biological sciences can be found here (we’ll be writing more about this soon!). Analogous to Last.fm, we will provide APIs to let others mash up the research statistics we’re generating. Moreover, our database will be the basis for our upcoming collaborative filtering recommendation engine: Based on the articles in your Mendeley library, we will be able to tell you about articles you don’t know yet, but which have been read and recommended by researchers with similar interests. You can read more about these plans in our recent IEEE e-Science paper.

A big thank you to our wonderful users who have been helping us improve Mendeley with their constant feedback. After celebrating the millionth article upload tonight, we’ll get back to work on our next two releases, packed full with exciting new features!