Writing scholarly papers in any discipline requires the citation of relevant literature. Managing references, in-text citations, and integrating these in the suggested format is a tedious process, especially when done manually. Digital storing of scholarly publications has been available for more than 25 years. In the past 10 years, the ‘Reference Managers’ have become an indispensable part of the scientific writers. Amongst others ‘Mendeley’ is an open reference manager which allows easy storing and managing of scholarly papers. In addition to that, Mendeley’s strength lies in its academic social networking. This chapter gives an overview of the important features and describes the steps of using the ‘Mendeley’ reference manager.
Mendeley was released in 2008 with the aim of providing open access to reference managers to the scientific world. Mendeley is owned by Elsevier since 2013 and ameliorated to be a cross-platform friendly application. It can be used as a desktop application, web-based browser even as on the go version in your phone (iPhone, iPad, and Android applications), fig 1.
Getting started with Mendeley: Download, install & signup
To start using Mendeley, you can start by downloading the application for your desktop. It is a freely downloadable application. Type ‘Mendeley’ onto google and it will direct the user to the downloading browser. Fig 2 illustrates the downloading steps for windows users. Next, you need to start with creating an account in Mendeley you will have access to the features through your account.
How to add and sort literature to Mendeley application:
Once you have Mendeley installed in your system you can store your files just by dragging them from your folder to the Mendeley window, Fig 3. The files you store in your Mendeley application will be synchronized across all your Mendeley platforms (such as Mendeley web browser, mobile applications) which will allow you to access your literature anywhere.
In the Mendeley application, you can make folders to sort your literature. Additionally, this application allows you to read your document, open multiple documents. You can also highlight and add notes while you read an article and save it with the notes in, figure 4.
Mendeley for citing and referencing literature:
Mendeley comes very handy while writing scholarly papers which demands meticulous citations and referencing of literature. You need to plug in with Microsoft Word (MS Word), see figure 5. This will enable you to use Mendeley's citation from MS word.
Next, when you are using MS word and want to cite a piece of literature you need to insert citations’ and a Mendeley pop-up will appear, figure 6. Mendeley library will allow you to access your saved articles in the Mendeley application. To cite any literature, select the relevant ones and use the ‘cite’ option shown at the top bar (figure 7, left top panel). This will send citations to your plugin MS word document directly. This process you can use to insert citations in your piece of writing. Once you have completed your paper, you can generate the bibliography by clicking on the option ‘Insert Bibliography’, figure 7, right panel. Using ‘insert bibliography’ you can insert your list of references you have cited in your document.
There are different types of in-text citations, it can be in square brackets, superscripts, and other variations. Different journals come with their referencing guidelines on how to cite references within the text. Similar variations are there for referencing styles. While submitting a paper to a new journal it is a must to adhere to the guidelines. To change the referencing style in Mendeley, you need to use the option ‘styles’ under the References toolbar, figure 8. This would generate in-text citation and reference in any style in a single click.
To add more than one citation for one statement we can follow the same steps described earlier. One additional step is to select the number of in-text citations you want to merge, and this will enable the option ‘Merge citation’ in place of ‘Insert citation’, figure 9 left panel. selecting the newly appeared ‘Merge citation’ will merge the citations together, figure 9 right panel. This can be done for as many citations as required.
Create/participate in a research group
Mendeley web browser has an additional feature that allows collaboration with authors and writers available in the forum [fig 10]. This platform also allows to create groups or join existing public groups. Creating private groups among colleagues or project collaborators comes in handy to share references while preparing for a grant proposal or manuscript. Additionally, private groups allow sharing full-text articles and reading them in the web browser.
To know more about Mendeley:
1. https://www.mendeley.com/reference-management/reference-manager (Last accessed: 20th Feb 2021; 10:04 am IST)
2. Referencing in Microsoft word with Mendeley Desktop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re2Ysid5XIY (Last accessed: 20th Feb 2021; 10:04 am IST)