By Portia Bode
Daily Titan Staff Writer
Mendeley, a new online research tool, may be coming to Cal State Fullerton next semester.
Mendeley is like the iTunes for academic papers; a free research management tool that allows you to share, organize and manage your research, said Ben Romberg, Mendeley’s community liasion.
According to Romberg, Jan Reichelt and Victor Henning, founders of Mendeley, were studying for their doctorate degrees when they found that managing hundreds of research papers required for their thesis’ was a laborious and time-consuming process, academic sources were difficult to access and that the software to properly do this was either unavailable or too expensive.
They decided to develop their own software that could manage their research. Reichelt and Henning founded Mendeley with the help of Paul Foeckler, who oversaw the technology development of the company, Mendeley’s site stated.
According to Romberg, simultaneously, Jason Hoyt, a PhD graduate at Stanford, saw the need and opportunity to improve collaborative research using the Internet. He founded of his own start-up called Ologeez, however, Jason later joined Mendeley.
Mendeley now assists students in managing and organizing research papers easily and effectively â€“ the Web site provides a free to use network which lets users manage their papers online, discover emerging trends and connect to other like-minded researchers, Romberg said. The site’s aim is to create a â€œLast.fm for Research,â€ said Romberg.
Entering citations by hand and writing a bibliography can be the most tedious part of a dissertation or term paper. Mendeley can do this for students by managing all their sources and citations, from research papers to books, for free. At the click of a button you can import sources from Amazon, Google Scholar and hundreds of other sites, Romberg said.
Mendeley hosts a secure online database for students to upload and save their research papers â€˜in the cloud,’ allowing students to share, tag, review and recommend documents to friends and colleagues, said Romberg.
Just as sites like Last.fm lead to the discovery of new music and the creation of social networks around specific musical â€œscrobbling,” Mendeley is making it easier to find top authors and create virtual research networks by scrobbling research paper collections, said Romberg.
Mendeley has over 7.5 million research papers uploaded. With a collection that doubles in size every eight to ten weeks, Mendeley is set to become the largest research repository in the world, said Romberg.
Mendeley software is primarily designed to be advantageous for researchers because it can automatically extract the details of a journal article directly from the research paper for citation and categorization which helps the research process, said Romberg.
Mendeley can also generate a bibliography in hundreds of different citation styles at the click of a button.
In a later version, Mendeley will allow users to develop their own citation style. This will make it easy for Mendeley users to share and collaborate on research projects, allowing public and shared collections of articles and discovering a growing social network of academics in a multitude of disciplines, said Romberg.
CSUF faculty members are looking into bringing Mendeley to CSUF students as early as next semester.
Colleen Greene, Pollak Library’s systems librarian, is currently researching Mendeley for the library.
“I’m not sure how that would work on the public computers really to be honest because you have to download the local software onto your computer, but I believe it’s only tied to one user,” Greene said.
Greene thinks the library staff would teach it, but she’s not sure how they would support Mendeley’s desktop client on public computers since it doesn’t give users the opportunity to log in; the software is automatically tied to the computer, Greene said. “If it supports multiple users, I haven’t discovered it yet,” Greene said.
“It’s a product I can see us teaching pretty quickly, probably even next semester,” Greene said. This would depend on how quickly the public computers could support the software, added Greene.
Greene thinks it will be a great tool for students who are working on group projects because the research information would be easily accessible to the group members.
As Greene said, the library doesn’t host general workshops that teach students how to use these types of research tools anymore. Greene added that the instruction librarians would teach it when they are doing library instructions with a class.
Greene also said that many of the research databases that Mendeley syncs with are science-oriented. Mendeley’s initial emphasis was on the science community, Greene said.
Anne Houtman, associate professor of Biology and director of the General Education Biology Program at CSUF, is starting to explore Mendeley.
â€œI’m very excited about the possibilities. I’m looking forward to showing it to the research students in my lab,” said Houtman. “I think it will be a good way for us to keep up to date on the literature in our field, and to communicate better with each other about what we’ve read and what we still need to read!â€
The 0.9.5 beta version of the software was released Dec. 4, finalizing and improving many of the existing features and building improvements in preparation for the launch of version 1.0. early in 2010, said Romberg.