December 04, 2009

Mendeley: for academic researchers


This is great if you are a researcher and, I'd have thought, indispensable if you're a researcher in academia. Make sure your papers are included in this prediction engine of research papers, helping users find academic friends-of-a-friend and papers they might otherwise have missed. It also allows an academic or groups of academics to annotate the reports they find.

And when the time comes to collate your academic report or paper, Mendeley will export to Word or OpenOffice the bibliography you used, in the right format. Are you on Should be.


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They're being quiet about it because they don't want to upset publishers but the really interesting thing is disintermediation - if mendeley becomes popular enough then why go through a journal to start with? Simply publish and you go through a form of post- review and review by metric.

Ooops. Did I just blow their cover then? ;-) Great idea, and one the likes of me might find pushes them into doing more serious research that writing for traditional journals hasn't inspired yet.

Tessa Watson recommended this to me, and it's a great idea. The only problem is that it seems to have been designed solely for academics to share their research with other academics. Maybe I'm not using it properly, but it doesn't seem to function well as a search engine for specific research. In my job it would be extremely useful for me to be able to access proper academic research on educational technology, but as I'm not an academic myself, or affiliated with a research institution, or subscribed to any expensive journals, access to research is very limited (though Google Scholar helps), and searching for it is a nightmare. It's not that I'm not prepared to pay for it either - I just can't find it! I really hope that academics do stop thinking in terms of closed access and start making their work more publicly available through this and other open access initiatives. Research should be let out of the ivory towers...

Absolutely. There was some research at the JISC conference in Edinburgh earlier this year showing that the sums paid for accessing research, if ditched, would provide more freed up funds for putting into research than is currently available from Government FOR research! Give it time, I say, but it's one of these ones where everyone has to move at once or not at all.

The Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland will be publishing advice on our blog ( over the holiday period on ways in which education professionals who are presently not matriculated with a university can legitimately access some academic works.

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Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

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