Supporting researchers with the new Mendeley Reference Manager

Laura ThomsonLaura Thomson, PhD, is Head of Reference Management at Mendeley. She has been with Elsevier since the start of 2015, and brings over 18 years’ experience with information products and research solutions to her role. Praised by her group for her clear vision and creative approach, she plays a key role in shaping how reference management is discussed and driven at Elsevier. With some exciting new developments happening with Mendeley’s reference management solutions, we met with her to find out more.

We recently heard from your colleague Gaby Appleton about the overall vision for Elsevier’s researcher solutions, especially Mendeley. How do Mendeley’s reference management solutions, specifically, fit within that vision?

As Gaby will have told you, the vision for Elsevier is to contribute to improving the information system supporting research. Our aim is to help researchers work even more efficiently so they can spend more time making discoveries.

That’s a statement that truly resonates with me. I started out as a biochemist and, as that career progressed, other tasks started to take over more of my time. In many ways, it stopped being fun because there was less time to do the real research.

The vision for Mendeley is to provide researchers with time-saving tools that help speed up and simplify their workflows. We want to take reference management off researchers’ minds by making all the tasks related to collecting, organizing, reading, annotating and citing as simple as possible – and key to this is the development of the new Mendeley Reference Manager.

With that guiding vision, communication with researchers must be very important to your team’s development plans.

Absolutely. The tools we offer must address challenges in researchers’ daily reality, so we are in constant communication with a range of researchers – those that use Mendeley, those that use other solutions, and those that don’t use any digital software at all to manage their references. These aren’t just casual conversations either. We have a robust user discovery program consisting of weekly sessions in which researchers test what we’re doing and give feedback.

This is an ongoing process, allowing us to provide researchers with a reference manager that not only addresses feedback gathered in the past, but also continues to develop over time with regular releases responding to feedback we continue to receive. Mendeley Reference Manager will evolve as researchers’ needs and the research landscape evolve.

Can you tell us more about the new developments you’re making with Mendeley Reference Manager?MRM image 2

In 2008, Mendeley was launched as a reference manager for researchers. Over the years, we’ve continued to develop Mendeley Desktop and the reference manager products.

More recently, though, it’s become increasingly difficult to keep developing the original Mendeley Desktop in the way we and our users need. A key element of this is how often we release a new version; with Mendeley Desktop we release four to five times a year, but with the new Mendeley Reference Manager we are releasing every two weeks. This means that we can respond faster to user feedback, and get new functionality and fixes out more regularly.

We have also built Mendeley Cite – a new citation add-in for Microsoft® Word. As with Mendeley Reference Manager, we have developed this very much in response to user feedback. For example, users have increasingly been asking for citation support in Microsoft® Office 365 but we could not offer this with the existing Mendeley citation plugin, as it’s built in VBA. We have built the new Mendeley Cite in JavaScript so users can now cite in Office 365.

Can you give us some more details about Mendeley Cite, and any other changes people can expect with the new Mendeley Reference Manager package?

In terms of new functionality that’s already available, two tools I’m really excited about are Mendeley Cite, as mentioned, and Mendeley Notebook – we’re hoping both will really help simplify researchers’ workflows.RNS_963_b.Cite version image

Mendeley Cite enables users to cite references and generate a bibliography, just as they could with our existing citation plugin, but as I mentioned, Mendeley Cite now works with Office 365. You also don’t have to be a Mendeley Desktop user to use Mendeley Cite – it works with your cloud library which is loaded into the add-in, so there is no need to switch between applications when citing, another feature that users were asking for a lot.

Mendeley Notebook is our brand-new note-taking tool. It’s a working space for keeping thoughts in one place, making it quick and easy to collect highlights from multiple PDFs and add you own comments. Researchers told us that they liked having highlights and annotations associated with the PDF, but that they were usually reading multiple PDFs at once and wanted their notes from all of these in one place. With Notebook they can do this.

We’ve also made the reference management experience generally more accessible and streamlined by making a lot of things just that bit better. A user’s library now automatically syncs to the cloud when they’re signed in; notifications about whether an action was successfully completed are a lot clearer; the look and feel has also been updated… And we’re continuing work on more features and functionality, which will release throughout 2019 – watch this space!

Gaby also talked about Elsevier’s commitment to source neutrality and maintenance of user control. How does the new Mendeley Reference Manager align with that?

Mendeley Reference Manager remains a place where researchers can gather papers and documents from any publisher or source. We do not give priority to Elsevier content; there’s no change there. Research support solutions of this type must remain source neutral. It’s essential for the researcher to remain unrestricted in that.

How do you feel now that the new version is out in the world?

I’m naturally excited to see the response to the new Mendeley Reference Manager. The development vision was very much informed by conversations with researchers about daily challenges. The post-release feedback on the new version is a key part of our development vision because it feeds our continuous iterative development. So, I’m excited and I know the development team are too.

And, lastly, where can people go to see all this for themselves?

The new Mendeley Reference Manager can be downloaded from www.mendeley.com/reference-management/reference-manager-beta. It’s currently in BETA, and doesn’t have all the functionality of the existing Mendeley Desktop just yet – but, as mentioned, we’ll be making releases to it every two weeks. The BETA works alongside Mendeley Desktop so you can try it out whilst still using your existing Desktop – just sign in using your Mendeley credentials and your library will sync.

You can get Mendeley Cite from Microsoft AppSource at www.mendeley.com/cite/word/install.

We’d love to get feedback on both of these to help inform future developments. So I encourage everyone to let us know their thoughts using the feedback links within Mendeley Reference Manager and Mendeley Cite. We really hope everyone enjoys using them!

Thank you very much for your time.

You can find out more about all-things Mendeley here

Newsflo brings new impact metrics to Mendeley

NewsfloSome exciting news has just come through, in that Elsevier has acquired Newsflo, an innovative service that helps academic institutions keep track of all their media coverage and social media mentions, boosting the visibility of researchers and their work.

Whereas traditionally academia has been very insular in the way they measured impact of its research output – think “walled garden” and the tyranny of citation count – these days it is increasingly accepted that citations alone are not the most accurate way of determining the reach and usefulness of research. We’ve seen the rise of Altmetrics and Mendeley has contributed a lot to this, collaborating with others to provide readership statistics that offer the research community much more relevant and granular insight on how and where their papers are being discovered, read, annotated, shared and cited.

Newsflo takes this a step further, looking beyond scholarly use of research papers towards a “media impact metric” that can be used to measure societal impact. This certainly makes sense if you consider that the purpose of Science is, after all, to benefit the whole of humanity, and that involves effectively communicating scientific research to the general public through various media. But in a world of information overload and seemingly infinite social media channels, how do you keep track of your work once it’s released into the wider world?

That was the problem that Imperial College London PhD students Ben Kaube and Freddie Witherden set out to solve when they started Newsflo. They developed a tool that helps researchers and academic institutions to measure the wider impact of their work by tracking and analyzing media coverage of their publications and findings. Currently Newsflo tracks over 55,000 English-speaking global media sources and has the technology and network to expand to non-English language media. Newsflo applies this intelligence to mine emerging trends in the academic sector and to provide relevant media alerts.

We aim to keep researchers informed of the media interest in their work, but also to help them raise their profiles, without putting extra demands on their time. Our tool lets institutions showcase the value of their research, and being a part of Elsevier will allow us to integrate our media monitoring technology into researchers’ everyday workflow.  Ben Kaube,  Newsflo Co-founder 

Now that Newsflo has joined the Elsevier family, we will be working to incorporate all these cool features into your Mendeley profile, providing individually customized evidence of the societal impact of your research through media mentions. Also, through the ongoing integration of Mendeley with Elsevier’s existing platforms, Newsflo’s media monitoring feature will become an integrated part of the workflow of all researchers publishing with Elsevier, along with tools such as the article recommender.

It’s increasingly important for researchers and departments to be able to demonstrate societal impact in order to attract students and secure funding. The technology and expertise of the Newsflo founders will be great assets to Elsevier in continuing to advance our portfolio of innovative tools to support institutional leaders and researchers’ workflows and careers. Olivier Dumon, Managing Director of Research Application & Platforms at Elsevier

You’ve seen already some of the benefits that this type of integration can bring, where we brought in features such as the article recommender and those that let you easily export papers from Science Direct or see your Mendeley Readership stats directly from Scopus. Our recently revamped API makes it much easier for all these services, across Elsevier but also 3rd party developers, to integrate with each other. We believe the key to building the best possible user experience for researchers is to seamlessly bring together all the information, content, workflow tools and social/collaboration functionalities that they need, and we’re working hard towards that goal.

It’s also really exciting to welcome these talented young entrepreneurs and work with them to develop some great new features together. Being acquired is an amazing and very challenging journey for a startup, but I think we’ve shown just how many opportunities it can bring, and I’m looking forward to helping Newsflo make the most of it so that their product can be of greatest benefit to the research community. Jan Reichelt, Mendeley President 

Co-founders Victor Henning and Paul Foeckler also stayed on following the acquisition, with Victor remaining as CEO of Mendeley but taking on an additional role as VP of Strategy at Elsevier. He’s currently spearheading innovative collaboration initiatives such as Axon@LeWeb, which brings together the most promising emerging startups in the fields of Science and Research. Paul, meanwhile, is involved in developing a new Elsevier Open Access journal that covers all disciplines, an initiative that promises to make the process of submitting your work for publication much easier and more efficient.

We think these are exciting times indeed, but as always we’d love to hear from you with any thoughts, suggestions, praise or criticism. Leave a comment below or Tweet us at @Mendeley_com

Join us on June 21st @ 9 AM EDT / 1 PM GMT for "Building your Reference Library with Mendeley", a free online instructional session

Calling all researchers and information professionals! We have a great schedule of instructional sessions targeted to your specific needs. Next up is “Building your Reference Library with Mendeley” on June 21st at 09:00 AM EDT / 01:00 PM GMT. Join us to learn about the many different ways to get information and documents into Mendeley so you can stay on top of your research.

Ricardo Vidal, Community Liaison for Mendeley, will be conducting this session. There will be plenty of time for questions after and during the session.

Registration is open until June 21, 2011 09:00 AM EDT

Date: Tuesday, June 21th 2011
Time: 09:00 AM EDT
Presenter: Ricardo Vidal


UPCOMING:

Mendeley for Librarians 6/23/2011 08:00 PM EDT
Collaborative Research with Mendeley 6/30/2011 12:00 noon EDT
Mendeley for Life Scientists 7/07/2011 01:00 PM EDT
Introduction to Mendeley 7/13/2011 02:00 PM EDT
Mendeley for Educational Research 7/19/2011 02:00 PM EDT
Mendeley for Librarians 7/26/2011 01:00 PM EDT

NB: Unfortunately, GoToMeeting doesn’t work on Linux. We’re very sorry, but we haven’t found a better solution that allows us to accommodate a large number of attendees and supports all platforms. We’re currently looking at WebEx as a possible replacement.

Announcing Science Online London 2009 at the Royal Institution

solologoFollowing last year’s successful “Science Blogging 2008” conference in London (see Victor’s blog post), we are happy to announce a slightly rebranded “Science Online London” as this year’s follow-up conference. The event will take place 22 August 2009 at the Royal Institution, London, and is co-hosted by Nature Network, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and Mendeley. To accomodate for a wider range of topics (i.e. not only science blogging), we changed the name to “Science Online London”, and we encourage you to suggest topics for the programme.

The Web is rapidly changing the communication, practice and culture of science. Science online London 2009 will explore the latest trends in science online. How is the Web affecting the work of researchers, science communicators, journalists, librarians, educators, students? What can you do to make the best use of the growing number of online tools?

As stated on the Science Online London webpage, “Topics include blogging and microblogging, online communities, open access and open data, new teaching and research tools, author identifies and measuring the impact of research.” Subscribe to the newsletter, send us your ideas – and let us know if you want to sponsor the conference. We’re all very much looking forward to meeting you at the Royal Institution on 22 August!