Mendeley is a reference manager and academic social network. While this platform has been extremely successful for research collaboration, it is woefully inadequate as a referencing tool. One of the first activities undertaken in the peer review process is to check article submissions for accurate referencing. If references are not cited correctly, the article is rejected without any content being examined. Thus, accurate referencing is a pre-cursor to having publications accepted.
Here are the top five reasons why it is time to find a new reference manager:
1. Reference types do not relate to today’s resources
Mendeley has 16 reference types (see image below) which are inadequate for accurate referencing. For example, many authors cite articles forthcoming, but there is no template provided.
2. CSL Style library is inadequate
Mendeley uses the CSL style library to format. There are around 7,000 CSL styles for various journal titles. While this sounds impressive, most styles have only 4-5 templates available, therefore, the 16 reference types, in reality, turn into 4-5! Also, these templates treat reference data as the same for every kind of resource and often led to inaccuracies. For example, a journal article is assumed to have a volume and issue number. There are many instances when issue numbers are not used, and volume numbers get replaced with a season (e.g., Spring). The format for these different kinds of journal numbering causes errors.
3. First, Consecutive and Subsequent not catered for
All CSL styles have the first template and a ‘Short’ template. This shortened template is used for both consecutive and subsequent formatting. This creates errors for many styles where consecutive citations differ to subsequent citations.
4. Multi-volume titles and abbreviations are missing
A range of styles require the need to include multi-volume titles and abbreviations. There is no field to capture this data, rendering such references inaccurate.
5. All independent reference managers must interface with MS Word
Interfacing any two solutions is always problematic. Recent posts on Mendeley’s facebook page suggest that their support for integration is lacking. Researchers waste extensive amounts of time formatting, reformatting and correcting reference data. Technology advances have been fantastic over the past 10 years, yet the solutions fail to deliver modern tools to researchers.
ComWriter has pledged ‘to eliminate referencing hurdles‘. Here are five resons to make the switch:
1. A broad range of reference types including articles forthcoming and books with mult-volume titles (see image)
2. Reference data is examined and alternate outputs provided; especially for journal articles
3. Footnote references provided for first, consecutive and subsequent
4. Write-and-cite in the one platform
5. The entire article (text & citations) is formatted automatically (using a pre-defined style guide), leaving authors more time to concentrate on content and argument
About the author: Dr Linda Glassop is a published author and the founder of ComWriter, a cloud-based writing application for students and researchers. Linda has made it her mission to make writing to academic standards easy.