Exhibits, Demos & Posters
Mendeley—A Last.fm for Research?
- Victor Henning, Bauhaus-University of Weimar, Germany; Mendeley Ltd., London, United Kingdom
- Jan Reichelt, University of Cologne, Germany; Mendeley Ltd., London, United Kingdom
This paper and demo explore how the principles of a well-known Web 2.0 service, the world’s largest social music service “Last.fm” (www.last.fm), can be applied to research.
We propose that a model of aggregating metadata, tags, and research paper usage of a large number of scholars could have the following potential in the domain of research: (1) It could create an open, interdisciplinary and ontological database of research, providing a free and invaluable source of information to every individual researcher. This could lead to (2) the generation of usage-based reputation metrics, e.g. the pervasiveness of research papers, average time spent reading per paper, and number of repeat readings per paper, plus quality ratings and tags that help differentiate mere measures of attention from explicit quality judgments. Usage data could then be the basis for (3) developing research paper recommendation engines based on collaborative filtering principles, potentially increasing the interdisciplinary of research because they can connect like-minded researchers and foster collaboration, and may be better in uncovering parallels between academic disciplines than citation networks.
Additionally, we investigate the possible challenges such a model would face: A sufficient number of participants is needed to gather reliable usage data, which results in the need for an initial value proposition independent of network effects. Moreover, whereas Last.fm openly displays each user’s listening behavior, privacy is critical in the space of research.
A real-world application of these principles, “Mendeley” (www.mendeley.com), will then be demoed at the IEEE e-Science Conference 2008.