Elsevier and Mendeley – an interview with Victor Henning

Andy Tattersall has championed Mendeley since 2009. He responds to the buy-out news and speaks directly to co-founder Victor Henning.

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What do think the reaction has been from the Mendeley Community, in particular the strong network of Mendeley Advisors to the Elsevier purchase?

Understandably, there has been a lot of concern about what it means for Mendeley - will it still remain free? Will we continue to support collaboration and sharing? Will we maintain our Open API, and will be keep our data open under a Creative Commons CC-BY license? The answer to all of these questions is Yes.

Fortunately, while our Mendeley Advisors voiced the same concerns and had a lot of questions, they generally continue to support us based on our track record of listening to our users closely. We promised to them that this wouldn't change, and I think they will hold us accountable.

On Twitter and elsewhere, there have also been angry voices about why we would sell to Elsevier, or to a publisher in general. It wasn't an easy decision, but as I explained earlier, one that we felt made sense for us and will ultimately benefit our users.

What are Elsevier's plans, will the software or the pricing change much in the near future?

As I outlined earlier, we are now in the fortunate position that we are under less pressure to monetise. We've already doubled our users' cloud storage space for free and upgraded our Mendeley Advisors to free Team Accounts. We're currently reviewing how we can make sharing and collaboration easier and more affordable.

Apart from that, the plan is to focus on integration between Mendeley, Scopus, and ScienceDirect. Ultimately, we're aiming for single-sign-on, meaning you can use the same account on all three websites, which will make it easier to search for content directly within Mendeley, or save articles to Mendeley more easily.

Do the Mendeley Advisors still have a part to play in all of this?

Yes, absolutely. They've been great at teaching Mendeley to students and faculty on their campus, and we continue to rely on them to provide us with feedback from their campuses around the globe. Next week, we've actually scheduled three days of user testing session for new features at the Mendeley HQ.

Considering what Elsevier does and how it operates, do you think this purchase will help the Altmetrics and Open Access movements in the long term?

I believe so. Elsevier already supports and provides data to ImpactStory, the popular altmetrics tool. Mendeley will keep offering altmetrics data via our API, and thanks to access to Scopus data, our data will be cleaner, richer, and more complete.

As for Open Access - while Elsevier is certainly not known as a big OA publisher yet, this is changing. They have doubled their number of OA journals last year and introduced additional hybrid options, and acquisitions like Mendeley will enable them to build new business models around OA.

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