Zientzilaria

Covering the bioinformatics niche and much more

Mendeley's Side

| Comments

Now that they dominate every single niche of scientific PR-bull, have pitbulls threatening people not to publish some negative comments about them, are trying to use free representative at universities, they also want to become the beacon of Open Science, open-whatever:

We came to the conclusion that technology is finally at a point that if we don’t use it now, then we are holding back the progress of science. And what exactly are we to use technology on? Open science/data/access.

Yes, use Mendeley. More and more, and then Science will be open.

For the past three centuries those two requirements could not be satisfied due to a lack of technology, but why are we not fulfilling them now? We have the tech (i.e. Internet), so something else is going on. It is easy to place the blame on publishers trying to protect business models, but that would be misplaced judgment. The business models for Open Access and Open Data are there, trust me (or go ask PLoS). Publishers are already experimenting with the models, but they are waiting for something before going full force. They are waiting for us, the researchers.

Thank you, Internet (whoever you are). Without you Science wouldn’t reach the point it is now. Wait, what? Yes, the business models are there, trust him, or just ask PLoS for all the money they are charging, and when you meet someone that is not blessed with technology (==money) and cannot publish on open access (they publish for free, but you have to wait), you can tell them the story of a place where tehcnology (==money) blesses everyone and all data flows free and papers are stored (for a price) on Mendeley’s servers.

Each time we hold back data or publish research that isn’t immediately open to all, we have chosen to be on the wrong side of history

And that’s your fault to be on the wrong side of history and good people. You are evil and your wife, husband, kids need to eat, but you don’t have tenure and you hide your data; that’s all you want: to hide your data and not show to anyone, because your contract is expiring in a couple of months and if you publish in a good journal they might renew it. Cut the chains that bind you to the oppressors, come to the right side, and store your references and papers (limited quantity) on Mendeley’s servers.

We could wait for policy changes from the top, but that is neither a timely, nor guaranteed solution

Post-docs and graduate students of the world unite, non-ternured staff too. Next time your boss or supervisor asks you to not disclose some data, tell them to go to hell, resign and go work for some Open Science advocate, or Mendeley (I heard they have quite good internships there)

Platforms such as Mendeley can have a hand in meeting both the first and second conditions. Mendeley is more than just a reference manager, it is also a system that aggregates the metadata of millions of documents and provides authors the opportunity to promote their works. We are now taking this one step further having created the beginnings of an author analytics platform.

There’s no free lunch out there. All that revolution-in-the-academics yada yada yada to come to the conclusion that Mendeley will solve everything, because it’s more than just a reference manager. It aggregates data and metadata (for a price) and gives me, you, the guy-next-door to promote works. Just like a journal. But it also gives you analytics: you will know how many bots accessed your paper or Mendeley farms were trained to add your papers, so it inflates the analytics and you get tenure because of that. Mendeley will do that for a price too, don’t you think? I don’t trust people that plays with censorship.

A publication snapshot is nothing earth shattering and it has a long way to grow. It has many valid concerns, such as gaming that must be accounted for. Fundamentally though, this is not just another metric to base the next grant or tenure selection upon, although eventually it could/should be used that way. To the point, this is about being on the right side of history in promoting Open Science.

That explains a lot. It shouldn’t be used, but it might. Eventually. But you will be on the right side. It gets to a point that I need a compass, or for the technology blessed, a GPS.

But it ends on a high note

Those researchers who openly and quickly publish research or data for download will be rewarded.* Those who do not will adapt or risk falling into obscurity. As we wait for policy changes to be enacted by the top, we must act at the bottom to encourage a behavioral change in how we share our knowledge. I think we owe that to the students, hipsters, and citizens in coffee shops everywhere.

I never understood why sharing the knowledge means opening all your data. Why paper access metrics should be used to measure something real. It’s nice to have a highly accessed paper on BMC, but you know that some of the hits came from you or maybe colleagues. And why the changes have to come from below? If I don’t have tenure, or I’m only a student I can try changing, but the final word always comes from who signs the check that feeds your family.

Which side of history will you be on?

I never understood why I should pick a side, or why someone in a company (with thugs) should challenge me to pick a side. I don’t know which side I’m on, I know History is define by powerful people, even though the burden and the work is carried by the silent millions. The only thing I could say about sides, is that I want to be on Mendeley’s opposite one, even if it becomes the standard for anything. I don’t side with censorship, hype and hot air.

*Exactly how that is rewarded through our search and recommendation engines has yet to be implemented, as we need to balance relevance as much as reputation.

Give me the source code of Mendeley and I will tell you how to implement. After all, it’s easy to be open with someone else’s stuff. Also, I’m looking forward to get Jason’s email with a link to all the projects he’s working on at the moment and all the data he ever generated. History is better set by example.

PS: Comments from anyone financially involved with Mendeley, especially the thugs, will be blocked.