Via Alessandro Delfanti:
Mendeley is a new online tool to share, aggregate, organize and discover research papers. It allows researchers to search for papers but also to connect with other researchers, invite them to join a group and then share ideas and documents. It has been compared to Last.fm, the popular website to share music, or to iTunes, since it is an application you can download on your desktop. In an article in the Guardian there is a description of thin new facility, which is growing fast and attracting more and more universities, research groups and libraries.
From the Guardian article:
“The music radio site Last.fm is one of the great ideas from the UK during the first dotcom boom. Users can listen to their own songs and other tracks recommended by Last.fm’s algorithms based on their tastes, including iTunes, and those of friends. It could easily have been a one-trick pony. But now a few academics have applied its serendipity to scientific research. Why can’t researchers, instead of waiting anywhere up to three years for their papers to jump all the hurdles, be part of a real-time market place – a fusion of iTunes and Last.fm for science? They pitched the idea, among others, to two of Last.fm’s investors: Spencer Hyman and Stefan Glaenzer, newly enriched by the sale of Last.fm to CBS.(…)
How does it work? At the basic level, students can “drag and drop” research papers into the site at mendeley.com, which automatically extracts data, keywords, cited references, etc, thereby creating a searchable database and saving countless hours of work. That in itself is great, but now the Last.fm bit kicks in, enabling users to collaborate with researchers around the world, whose existence they might not know about until Mendeley’s algorithms find, say, that they are the most-read person in Japan in their niche specialism. You can recommend other people’s papers and see how many people are reading yours, which you can’t do in Nature and Science. (…) Around 60,000 people have already signed up and a staggering 4m scientific papers have been uploaded, doubling every 10 weeks. At this rate it will soon overtake the biggest academic databases, which have around 20m papers.”