Mendeley Suggestions

A friend of mine using Mendeley told me about an interesting feature--that it can suggest papers to you that you haven't read, based on your library.

I was wondering whether Zotero may have a feature like this in the future, and also, how easy it would be for me to just train a Mendeley account to leverage this suggestion feature from my Zotero library, while still sticking with Zotero.

  • I don't know about the first question. I think that was under discussion for some time but I haven't seen any activities in that direction. Zotero has more stringent data privacy rules that would also likely make this harder.

    For the second question, Mendeley has a feature that will sync with the Zotero library, so you can just use Zotero for all practical purposes but keep the library in sync with Mendeley, which will then produce recommendations.
  • edited May 17, 2018
    Also, have a look at Researchgate. Like a Facebook for scientists. Really useful and also suggests papers from people you've cited and you can follow people etc.
  • Google Scholar also provides recommendations based on the items you publish.
  • Are Mendeley and ResearchGate alerts really useful? Maybe for people who are not investing the time to dive deep in to research databases, and even then, the recommendations probably are not even close to the quality of methodological self-discovery.

    If you have access to scholarly databases (which you need in any case to be able to read the papers) you can easily beat any recommendation service today. When you read a paper, grab all the citations that matter to you. If you follow through with just a few branches of this effort, your library will grow in leaps and bounds.

    To stay on top of new research, my favorite tool is using Google Scholar to send email alerts. You can create as many alerts as you want, and use boolean logic (OR, AND). There might be other features, but just the basic stuff is pretty good. I have about 6 alerts and get an email for each alert about twice/week.
  • I personally don't find ResearchGate's suggestions to be relevant for me. I've never tried Mendeley's tool. Google Scholar's recommendation tool does a much better job in my experience.
  • Same here -- I find google scholars recommendation based on my publications surprisingly useful. I´ve heard good things about Mendeley´s recommendation engine. The two advantages recommendation engines have over more traditional searches is a) timeliness (google typically recommends things that are recently published, for example) and b) better fit, i.e. a higher chance to get highly relevant and good papers.

    But obviously they´re a supplement, not a substitute for traditional literature searches when working on a topic in depth.
  • Yeah, Google Scholar serves as a "here's what's new from XYZ group or on ABC topic" source for me. It fills a similar role as the RSS feeds in Zotero. I especially like that it picks up preprints from the OSF preprint servers.
  • Just wanted to add that we started a platform to provide this exact service about 2 years ago. It can be found at Development is pretty much in standby for the past 1.5y now but still functional. The basic idea was to create a "fingerprint" based on the user library (mendeley and zotero) and to match it to relevant papers recently published (and potentially discussions, comments, etc). We were leveraging word2vec/doc2vec on the title/abstract of the papers (gensim implementation) altmetric and some custom sauce to do this. We spent quite some time developing the tech but per lack of time (and funding) we had to pause. The code is hosted here is anyone is interested Happy to resurrect the project if there is some momentum...
  • I would love to have this feature as well.
  • Me too.
    Indeed, it is something very useful in modern science to have a list of recent (and also non recent) papers that are not in your library. I know that aggregation of these data is dangerous privacy-wise, but please work out a solution :)
  • I would also like to have this feature as well! The concept and working code from @RikLaHoule is pretty nice and I believe it can further be optimised by using a number of other free resources such as arxiv-sanity which also provides I believe a similar service based on this it could be used for comparison in order to further narrow down recommendations, the other one is semantic scholar which brings connections between articles depended on their references.

    It would be nice to see something like that in zotero, also the birds eye view in arxiv-sanity is pretty neat.
  • I've tried both Mendeley (extensively) and Zotero (just starting), and for a number of reasons I prefer the latter - but the literature suggestions I get from Mendeley are often spot-on and rather useful. Also, one additional feature of Mendeley is to show (right mouse-click) for a given selected paper "related documents", and this, again, I found to provide very useful references that can be added to your library with a mouse click. I understand that there might be a potential privacy issue, but if it was possible to find a way around this issue, having these features would definitely be nice!

  • I, for one, would prefer not to have such a feature. Mendeley is Elsevier's. They try to sell you their products, the papers they publish to earn money with your work. Zotero fortunately doesn't have such an interest and respects your privacy. Let Zotero continue this way.
  • edited April 14, 2020
    @fmuro Yes! I work with someone who uses Mendeley solely for that reason and it seems to me that the "suggestions" are prioritized if the pubs are in Elsevier journals. It is also clear that little real effort is made to edit the suggestions to be certain that there are no obvious errors. Sloppy users carelessly entering metadata carries over to sloppy suggestions. It seems that no effort was made to use DOI numbers to verify the data entry. Funny, but the Elsevier journal suggestions seem to have few or no metadata errors.

    Is anyone else here old enough to remember the time when all important data entry was followed by a re-entry verification step. This goes back to the punchcard era and there were machines exclusively designed to monitor the reentry verification step and kick-out pairs of cards that didn't match.
  • edited April 15, 2020
    But this could be built as a standalone based on your library and external search engines API's or RSS feeds an not with marketing porpuses in mind. There is an app for phone and web called Researcher that updates you based on your journals subscriptions inside the app:

    Its a search engine too that you can integrate with your Zotero library but unfortunately only allows that "bookmarks are sent directly to your reference manager." If an external service could link Zotero repository and suggest alerts would be a nice integrations. Researcher app do not relates your Zotero library with your journal subscriptions but its nice to have that option: to add an article from a journal (as alert/notifications) to the Zotero library.

    For someone doing research some "fresh news" could be the start of a new project or idea or just as an alert for you to keep up to date inside your research group and bump up the main theme of research.

    There are topics in science that change by the semester or less, and there is no The Guardian or New York Times for that. For instance some research its kinda private and only sci hub allows a more generic access as you know. For that type of research i doubt that even Mendeley suggest articles because of its marketing that prioritises Elsevier search i guess.
  • edited April 15, 2020
    The Mendeley features mentioned here are useful. But there are alternate methods that will get you similar or better results. For new and latest research, Google Scholar is great. You can setup alerts for a topic or an author you want to follow. Here's an example of one of my alerts:

    (gas OR gasoline OR petrol OR diesel OR biodiesel OR CNG OR LNG) AND (car OR light-duty OR truck OR vehicle OR heavy-duty) AND (fuel OR emission OR pollution)

    I get an email every few days with the latest research matching the alert criteria. I used to have multiple more specific alerts, but found that fewer but broader alerts are more manageable for me.

    For historical articles, Mendeley's suggestion features make it easier. But almost equally easy and certainly more targeted is to simply jump to the references section of the most read (or your favorite) articles in your database. Just start from one article, and soon you will be branching out and adding a LOT ;)

    If I had a wish, I would ask for a feature that can grab, in just a couple clicks, all the articles (at least ones with DOI) referenced in a PDF.
  • I actually liked this feature from Mendeley - found it really beneficial. Would vouch for something equivalent with Zotero! (for now I will just use researchgate and google scholar)
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