Meddling with Mendeley

Like Laura, I am learning to learn the technology associated with NGL.

So I thought I would share my learning about the various programs EDU8117 uses.  Maybe something I learn will help put things into perspective for someone else.


What is Mendeley?

According to Wikipedia, Mendeley is a desktop and web program for;

  • managing and sharing research papers,
  • discovering research data
  • and collaborating online.

It combines Mendeley Desktop, a PDF and reference management application (available for Windows, OS X and Linux) with Mendeley Web, an online social network for researchers.


Where did the name come from?

It helps me to understand the background of what I am studying.  One of the fun things I found out about Mendeley is that there is a short and a long version as to how the name came about.  The short version is that it’s a combination of the names of scientists Dmitri Ivanovic Mendelyeyev and Gregor Medel.  The long version is more fun and starts with Dracula.

How does this benefit the NGL Community?

Mendeley as a tool fits well with the NGL scene as it incorporates sharing and other social networking features.  It operates across a range of platforms (such as Mac, Windows and Linus) and stores on the cloud.   Most significantly it allows collaboration via public and private groups sharing reading lists.  EDU8117 has a private group.


What cautions?

Now that Mendeley has been purchased by the Elsevier publishing company in 2013, there is concern (such as expressed in the New Yorker) that the open access which is a core feature of NGL and one of the things that set Mendeley apart will be lost due to a fundamental incompatibility with Elsevier’s business model.

Elsevier, on the other hand, is infamous for restricting the flow of scientific information so it can sell research papers for as much as fifty dollars a piece, generating profit margins of thirty-six per cent and netting the company billions of dollars in revenue annually.

A counter argument being that the sharing nature may circumvent copyright.

But to many publishers, Mendeley’s collegial-sharing feature looked awfully close to copyright theft.

So, what alternatives are there?

So if not Mendeley, where else?  Techshout provides a quick overview of seven Other reference management tools with a social network capacity ( both paid and free).

EndNote, Zotero, BibDesk (Mac only), Qiqqa, Papers, JabRef, Refworks.

I have worked with Endnote when studying at Curtin University.  Absolutely loved it, although the sharing capacity wasn’t mentioned.  It was free to students so it is interesting to look at the Endnote “Buy now” page and see how expensive it really is.  Hoping to explore Mendeley based on my Endnote experience and gain a sense of how I can import references into documents and posts.

EDU8117 – Working with Mendeley

Although David indicates that we won’t be working with Mendeley quite as closely as he orginially intended (2014/08/18 and 2014/08/24), I am still looking forward to being able to use its basic functions to access the wealth of literature being added to the group and be able to follow in my fellow students footsteps.



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