28 November, 2008

Mendeley - some suggestions

As I mentioned before, I signed up to Mendeley, here is a link to my profile. In this post I just want to mention some improvements, that (I believe) will make Mendeley even more useful than it is now:

1) As I wrote earlier, the metadata transfer for arXiv preprints doesn't work properly.

2) On the one hand, all of us are used to publish arXiv preprints prior to publications, but one should not mix preprints and peer-review journal articles in the CV. Therefore, it will be great if the "preprint" option will be added as an article type.

3) Also, one may want to distinguish "conference proceedings" from "conference abstracts" (which may be also presented as posters).

4) A useful thing might be to add a list of conferences, visited by scientist, with a type of contribution (invited talk/oral presentation/poster) as an option.

5) Looks like a little bug: when I type my location, the list of suggestions appears. But, If I ignore this list and type "Berlin, Germany" by myself (which is exactly the same thing as given in the list), the following message occurs: "Sorry, we don't have details for the location you have entered. Please select one from the drop down list."

6) If I see a green cross near "add entry", I immediately want to click it. But it doesn't work, one has to click "add entry" itself.

I hope these issues may be fixed...

27 November, 2008


In comments to my recent post Jan Reichelt brought my attention to another academic collaboration tool, called Mendeley. The idea is a bit different from those of 2collab, and therefore one cannot directly compare these two things. While 2collab is a bookmarking tool, dealing with articles somewhere in the web, the heart of Mendeley is an online library, where you can upload and organize your .pdf files. You can also create your profile with CV and publication list, as well as join different groups. The online library can be synchronized with files on your computer using the offline tool, Mendeley desktop.

Surprisingly enough, Mendeley correctly reads almost all the metadata from .pdf's. However, it doesn't work correctly with arXiv preprints: what I had is the arXiv link read as an article title (e.g. arXiv:0809.3331), and the blank field of publication name (where the journal title should be). Hope that the authors can fix it soon.

Another point is that at the moment there are only very few users of such services as Mendeley and 2collab are. However, I believe that in the nearest future using "academic social networks" will be as usual as, for instance, having a personal webpage at institute website nowadays.

26 November, 2008

How much force does it take to stab somebody to death?

Here is a review of an absolutely crazy arXiv preprint:

"A number of groups have attempted to measure the forces necessary to penetrate skin but the results are difficult to apply to murder cases because of the sheer range of factors at work. The type and sharpness of the knife; the angle and speed at which it strikes; the strength of skin which varies with the age of the victim and the area of body involved; these are just a few of parameters that need to be taken into account.
They [the authors, by Misha] have developed a machine that measures the force required to penetrate skin–either the animal kind or an artificial human skin made of polyurethane, foam and soap. The surprise they’ve found is that the same knives from the same manufacturer can differ wildly in sharpness. And the force required for these knives to penetrate the skin can differ by more than 100 per cent."

This is definitely the strangest preprint I've ever seen...


I came across an interesting service - 2collab, a tool for scientific bookmarking, sharing and collaborating. It looks like an academic analogue of delicious. This project was started by Elsevier, and therefore any article from Elsevier journal may be immediately bookmarked using an "add 2collab" button at the journal website - and all the bibliographic data will be automatically transferred.  Unfortunately, at the moment no other journals have such buttons. Of course, one can bookmark absolutely any webpage, but in this case one should write up the bookmark description (title, etc.) by hands, which can take a while.

For this day, 2collab seems to be not very popular among the researchers, but I hope it will change soon.

06 November, 2008

Links for 11.11.2008

02 November, 2008

Links for 2.11.2008