Alison from Mendeley asked me to write a bit about the unconventional uses I’ve put Mendeley to, ahead of the Advisor Meeting in London at the end of next month.
The thing that caught Alison’s attention was the use of Mendeley groups in grant proposals. I’ve done this during the last two grant proposals I’ve been closely involved in writing. In both cases we have collated papers relevant to the grant proposal topic in a public Mendeley group. As well as being a generally useful process and source of material for collaboratively writing a proposal, the idea has been that the groups demonstrate initial steps towards curating a ‘knowledge base’ on the subjects we’re applying for money for. This can then go into the ‘impacts plan’ part of the proposal as something we’re giving back to the wider community. I’ve had no specific feedback from reviewers / funders on this approach but have had very good feedback on the impacts plans more widely.
Of more direct relevance to trying to secure funding, for a proposal for a ‘desk based’ study of trace gas fluxes in the Arctic we needed to demonstrate that there was sufficient data to undertake the study we had proposed (suspecting that the reviewers would assume there wasn’t!). Therefore we collated papers on observations of trace gas concentrations in the Arctic Ocean and overlying atmosphere into a group that was cited directly in the proposal as evidence that there was sufficient data out there for what we wanted to do. This satisfied the reviewers, one stating that we had ‘demonstrated the data was out there’ and the other expressing surprise at the number of relevant papers – I assume from their comments that both had followed the link and had a poke around at the papers we’d collated. Sadly, in spite of very positive reviews, the grant was unsuccessful for unrelated reasons. However the approach of using Mendeley groups to demonstrate evidence/ data availability seemed to be completely acceptable.
A further use I’ve put Mendeley groups to recently is to ‘publish’ a list of the articles I cite in a recent paper. Seemed like a useful thing to do – I’ve used private groups to organise papers relating to particular papers I’m working on, but making this one public at the end provides quick and easy links to the cited materials for anyone who wants to get at them. May never be used, but was almost zero effort for me to make it public, so why not?
I’m really looking forward to the Mendeley Advisor day in September – meeting the Mendeley team and finding out how other people are using it.