Day 7: Connect with other researchers on

Next up for our Impact Challenge is Mendeley.

Are you surprised? While it is marketed more as a reference manager than a social network, Mendeley remains popular with many academics and librarians. It offers ways to connect with other researchers that you can’t find on other platforms.

Mendeley Web (the online counterpart to the desktop reference management software) is similar to Google Scholar in several ways. What’s distinctive about Mendeley is that it offers better opportunities to interact with other researchers and get your research in front of communities that might be interested in it, in a context where they’re largely interacting with scholarship they intend to actually read and cite.

Moreover, Mendeley’s Readership Statistics can tell you a lot about the demographics that have bookmarked your work – an important indicator of who’s reading your work and who might cite it in the future.

Step 1: Create a profile

Logon to and click the “Create a free account” button. Create a login and, on the next screen, enter your general field of study and your academic status (student, professor, postdoc, etc.).

As you advance to the next screen, beware: Mendeley Desktop will automatically start downloading to your computer. (You’ll need the Desktop edition to make the next step a bit easier on yourself, but you can also make do without it. Your call.) Download it and install it if you plan to use it for the next step – importing your publications.

Step 2: Import your publications

If you’ve got Mendeley Desktop installed, your job is easy. Export your publications in .bib format from NURO.



  • Fire up Mendeley Desktop and select “My Publications” from the “My Library” panel in the upper left corner of the screen.
  • Click File > Import > BibTeX (.bib) on the main menu.
  • On your computer, find the .bib file you exported from NURO, select it, and click “Open”. Mendeley will begin to import these publications automatically.
  • In the dialog box that appears, confirm that you are the author of the documents that you’re importing, and that you have the rights to share them on Mendeley. Click “I agree.”
  • Click the “Sync” button at the top of the Desktop screen to Sync your local Mendeley library with your Mendeley Web library.

If you didn’t install Mendeley Desktop, here’s how to add your references manually using Mendeley Web:

  • Click the “My Library” tab, then the “Add Document” icon.
  • On the “Add New Document” dialog box that appears, select “My Publications” from the “Add to” drop-down menu, then use the “Type” drop-down menu to specify what type of document you’re adding to your “My Publications” list (article, book section, thesis, etc.).
  • The dialog box will automatically expand, giving you many fields to fill out with descriptive information for that publication. Complete as many as possible, so others can find your publication more easily. If an Open Access link to the full-text of your publication exists, provide it in the URL box. And be sure to add a DOI, if you’ve got one. Click “Save” when finished.
  • Rinse and repeat as necessary, until all your articles are added to your profile.

That’s it! You’ve just added all your publications to your Mendeley profile.

Tips from Faculty Librarian Ruth Talbot-Stokes: provides you with a button that you can drag to your links tools bar. When you are on a page that has bibliographic metadata on it, e.g. a database results page, you can just click that button to send the reference to your Mendeley desktop software. The negative is that sometimes it harvests incomplete or incorrect data and it isn’t easy to edit (maybe you can but it isn’t obvious). Endnote might be slightly harder to get a citation into but it’s easier to manage/edit citations.

If you have a pdf you can drag it into your Mendeley desktop collection and it will automatically create a citation and attach your pdf to it, but once again it isn’t usually a very good citation (I may have been unlucky) it isn’t easy to edit once it is there. You may like to drag pdfs into Mendeley to just make content available there, for the social networking benefits, but still use Endnote as a citation manager for referencing.

This guide  has useful information on how to move material from Endnote to Mendeley and from Mendeley to Endnote, which can be very useful if you have multiple citation managers.

Don’t forget to add your profile image and web bio!

  • Click on your name in the top right-hand corner of your web profile, and then add missing information and an image.


Here’s what your profile page will look like, now that you’ve added an image and uploaded publications to your My Publications library:


Step 3: Follow other researchers

Now you’re ready to connect with other researchers. Consider this step akin to introducing yourself at a conference over coffee: informal, done in passing, and allowing others to put a face to a name.

First, you’ll need to find others to follow. Search for colleagues or well-known researchers in your field by name from the Mendeley search bar in the upper right-hand screen of Mendeley Web:


Be sure to select “People” from the menu, so you search for profiles and not for papers that they’ve authored.

When you find their profile, click on their name in the search results, and then click the “Follow” button on the right-hand side of the profile:


That’s it! Now you’ll receive updates on your Mendeley homepage when they’ve added a new publication to their profile or done something else on the site, like join a group.

Step 4: Join groups relevant to your research

If Step 3 was like introducing yourself during a conference coffee break, Step 4 is like joining a “Birds of a Feather” group over lunch, to talk about common interests and get to know each other a bit better.


Mendeley groups are places where researchers interested in a common topic can virtually congregate to post comments and share papers. It’s a good place to find researchers in your field who might be interested in your publications. And it’s also the single best place on the platform to learn about work that’s recently been published and is being talked about in your discipline.

To find a group, search for a subject using the search toolbar you used for Step 3, making sure to select “Groups” from the drop-down menu. Look through the search results and click through to group pages to determine if the group is still active (some groups were abandoned long-ago).

If so, join it! And then sit back and enjoy all the new knowledge that your fellow group members will drop on you in the coming days, which you can view from either the group page or your Mendeley Web home screen.

And you can feel free to drop some knowledge on them, too. Share your articles, if relevant to the group’s scope. Pose questions and answer others’ questions. Openly solicit collaborators if you’ve got an interesting project in the pot that you need help on, like Abbas here has:


Use groups like you would any other professional networking opportunity: as a place to forge new connections with researchers you might not have a chance to meet otherwise.

 Step 5: Learn who’s bookmarking your work

Once your work is on Mendeley, you can learn some basic information about who’s saving it in their libraries via Mendeley’s Readership Statistics. And that’s interesting to know because Mendeley bookmarks are a leading indicator for later citations.

To see the readership demographics for your publications, head to the article’s page on Mendeley. On the right side of the screen, you’ll see a small Readership Statistics panel:


Readership Statistics can tell you how many readers you have on Mendeley (how many people have bookmarked your publication), what discipline they belong to, their academic status, and their country. Very basic information, to be sure, but it’s definitely more than you’d know about your readers if you were looking at the number of readers alone.


You can’t easily extract readership information for your publications unless you use Mendeley’s open API (too high a barrier for many of us to pass). So, you’ll need to cut-and-paste that information into your website, CV, or annual review, just as you would when using Google Scholar.

A final drawback: if you want to add new publications, you’ll have to do it yourself. Mendeley doesn’t auto-add new publications to your profile like Google Scholar or other platforms can.


First, complete your profile by manually adding any works that the BibTeX import from NURO didn’t catch.

Next, build your network by following at least five other researchers in your field, and joining at least two groups. On each of the groups you’ve joined, share at least one publication, whether it’s one you’ve authored or one written by someone else. Remember, make sure the publications you share are relevant to the group, or else you’ll be pegged as a spammer.

Over the next few days, log onto Mendeley Web at least one more time, and become acquainted with your home screen timeline to stay abreast of new research that’s been added to groups or your colleagues’ profiles.

Are you hanging in there? Tomorrow, we’ll master LinkedIn. Get ready!


3 thoughts on “Day 7: Connect with other researchers on

  1. Jessie Reid

    Good morning, hope you’re all ready to delve into Mendeley. Would be interested to know if any of you already use it for its social networking functions? Or just as a reference manager?


  2. Jessie Reid

    Hi all,
    Marj Kibby sent through info on Colwiz – another reference manager with some great features.
    She says:
    “I haven’t used Mendeley or Evernote since I started using Colwiz, so some of its features may now be available in them. Mendeley has the advantage of size – more chance of relevant connections.
    You can add articles to Colwiz from Google Scholar search with one click. You can collaboratively annotate PDFs from a good number of publishers. It is integrated with Google Drive so you share references as you co-write. Easy to set up groups. It automatically includes articles you have written in their own folder. You can set up smart folders that collect articles with the criteria you set.”
    Has anyone else used Colwiz? How do you find it compares with Mendeley or Endnote?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s