Mendeley is a reference manager which is used to organize and share research papers and generate bibliographies for scholarly articles. Mendeley readership statistics demonstrate how often an item is included in a user’s library and how many times it is cited and read within the platform. Mendeley’s “Readers” is a statistical count demonstrating a researcher’s initial interest in a digital object. When a researcher includes a digital object in their Mendeley library, this entry is counted as a “Reader” number.
Inclusion in Mendeley does not mean that the item was used or reused, but simply that a researcher found it interesting enough to pull the citation into their library. This enables researchers to predict the impact an article might have in that discipline, and is a useful indicator for evaluating the context of a journal article, but is not considered a direct measure of research impact. Practitioners can search for specific items via the user interface or through Mendeley’s API. Information and documentation for both processes can be found at Mendeley’s Readership Statistics.
Practitioners should follow the practices laid out in the “Ethical considerations and guidelines for the assessment of use and reuse of digital content.” The Guidelines are meant both to inform practitioners in their decision-making, and to model for users what they can expect from those who steward digital collections.
According to Mendeley’s parent company (Elsevier) they can collect a wide range of user data based on direct user input, third-party sources, and through automated technologies. This data includes a) personally identifiable data about users such as name, email address, postal address, phone number, social media handle, usernames and passwords, password hints and similar security information, b) device and usage data, and c) profile information, such as “educational, professional and other background information, such as your field of study, current position, practice area and areas of interests, gender, ORCID ID and photo” and d) payment information such as credit or debit card numbers and government-issued ID numbers.
Haustein, S., Bowman, T. D. , & Costas, R. (2016). Interpreting “altmetrics”: Viewing acts on social media through the lens of citation and social theories. In C.R. Sugimoto (Ed.), Theories of informetrics and scholarly communication (pp. 372–406). De Gruyter.
Zahedi, Z., Costas, R., & Wouters, P. (2014, June 2-5). Assessing the impact of the publications read by the different Mendeley users: Is there any different pattern among users? [Conference presentation]. 35th international association of technological university libraries, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland.