Updated Friday, September 2; 10:58 am: William Gunn, Director of Scholarly Communications at Elsevier, posted on Twitter that the institution-specific ‘Find Full Text’ connection will soon be back on individual article pages on Mendeley Papers. Thank you, @MrGunn, for that quick assistance and positive outcome for our users.
I’m working on a new article related to our scholarly workflow project — exploring the integration of library services within citation management software. In the article, I review the current level of library-centered connectivity for various tools — Endnote, Zotero, ReadCube, and Mendeley. ReadCube offers (in my opinion) the most visible integration, asking users to authenticate with their institutional login to retrieve the full text of article PDFs. ReadCube has also automated a portion of the institutional affiliation process within the software. They offer a list of institutions for the user to choose from; a choice will automatically populate ReadCube’s preferences with the user’s institutional OpenURL link. It’s wonderful that ReadCube offers these optimizations; it increases the chances that users will find the full text of their article via their library.
Mendeley used to have some very nice library connectivity options as well. Those options are now gone. This Mendeley Blog article from 2011 details the library connection situated within Mendeley’s ‘Get Full Text’ options in the Mendeley catalog. In a nutshell, users can view the research catalog entry for a specific article. On the research catalog entry page, the article information was once accompanied by an option to retrieve the full-text of the article in several places, including Google Scholar and the user’s home institution. I taught this optimization countless times to students, and I know it helped them more readily connect with research articles. It ensured that my students did not land on unauthenticated journal web pages where they would be confronted with a price for a full text article.
Unfortunately, this option no longer exists. Mendeley reduced the options on the individual research catalog entry page. The only option to find full text now is this:
Get full text at journal is now the only path to an article in full text. I think the motivation behind this change is pretty clear, and it’s terrible. This change virtually ensures that a user will (more than likely searching from off campus and unauthenticated) land on a journal article page and see a fee as the only option to purchase a journal article.
While an excellent product, Mendeley has taken a step backwards with this new change. Is it surprising that it happened? No. Selling journal articles to people who may already have access via their home institution is a shallow attempt at additional revenue. Building lasting connections and seamless integration with libraries and librarians would add depth to their product and ensure continued future adoption by students. Mendeley needs to do the right thing for their users and reinstate the ‘Get Full Text’ at your institution link.