Cracking Open Science: An interview with Mendeley’s co-founder

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Interview with Dr Victor Henning, co-founder of MendeleyThe logo of Mendeley

According to Victor Henning, Mendeley was born as an answer to the question: “Why isn’t there a good tool that tries to automatically turn our collections of PDFs into structured databases?”
In the three and a half years since the launch of Mendeley, it has grown to 1.9 million users. It has 285 million documents uploaded in the database, and five to eight hundred thousand documents a day added.
“The biggest academic databases, commercially, so far, have been Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science and Elsevier’s Scopus and both have about 48-49 million records. Mendeley surpassed that after a little more than two years and is now up to 285 million uploaded documents.”

Henning says that ‘academic publishing is a $25 billion business but what it is built on is… the only term that I can find for some of what’s going on is “insanity”. When I was an academic and I published my first paper I wanted to get a PDF copy of my own paper and the publisher wouldn’t give it to me. My university hadn’t subscribed to that journal so I had to buy a copy of my own paper. /…/

“Swets, a Dutch company, makes $1 billion in revenue helping libraries manage subscriptions. They approached us a little more than a year ago wanting to tie Mendeley’s usage statistics, /…./ into their library subscriptions dashboard, so that librarians could make better decisions about which journals they should subscribe to and how the content that they have subscribed to is being used by their faculty. So, Mendeley partnered up with Swets to develop and market the Mendeley Institutional Edition, which is sold at between $10,000 and 50,000 per year per institution.

Read the whole interview

The interview is the latest in a series by Ivo Spigel, The Kernel’s central and eastern Europe editor, taken from his forthcoming book of interviews with European high-tech founders, provisionally titled EuroGeeks