Mendeley's 'open platform' provides access to scientific articles, data, & apps

Ben Rooney | Wall Street Journal | August 22, 2012

Mendeley, a scientific-data aggregation platform sometimes described as a cross between Twitter and Facebook for scientists, started life as a simple tool for researchers, but has transformed itself into an open platform, allowing developers to build apps using that rich scientific metadata.

CEO Victor Henning said the service has data on some 65 million unique documents that together cover—according to the site—97.2% to 99.5% of all research articles published. There are some 3,000 developers who have produced 240 apps that use the platform to help researchers. The company said Wednesday that those apps make 100 million requests for information every month. Examples of the sort of apps developed include and, which display a researcher’s or a lab’s real-time impact on the academic community. “By sharing a large corpus of open-licensed data, Mendeley is laying the foundation for a whole new science of the making and spreading of scientific knowledge.

According to Mr. Henning, most user data is anonymized. “If you look at a particular document you can see that it has 5,000 readers and you can see the breakdown by academic discipline, or location, or research interests, or academic status, or what else these people are reading.” Individual data on a user isn’t normally available. “You can choose to make that available for a user to curate topics they find interesting and other users can follow that,” he said.