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Tips to optimize researcher education and collaboration

With Potenza Atiogbe, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals, NHS Trust | May 05, 2020

Researcher Collaboration


It was the reference management functionality that first drew Potenza Atiogbe to Mendeley back in 2013. But during a Mendeley librarian training in 2016, she soon realized there were untapped opportunities to use it more broadly in her role as Multiprofessional Education and Library Services Manager.


In an April Library Connect webinar, Potenza, who is now a Mendeley Advisor, shared the three key ways she leverages Mendeley to support networking and training in her work with Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust in the UK.


Establish research groups to drive productivity


According to Potenza, it was actually one of the consultant pediatric gastroenterologists at her trust, Dr Sonny Chong, who spearheaded this approach. He works with peers across the globe and identified Mendeley as the ideal platform to support the group’s virtual collaborations, allowing them to easily share papers and knowledge.  


She explains: “He has five large groups, each dedicated to a different area of the gastrointestinal  system. Within these groups, we have set up multiple folders to categorize relevant diagnoses, for example, Crohn’s disease, or gastric ulcers. Dr. Chong and his colleagues use these folders to store papers, such as previous studies or case reports. And they use the Mendeley highlighting functionality to mark-up particular aspects of a paper they want to discuss or take forward.”


Potenza adds: “For Dr. Chong, being able to work with like-minded colleagues in this way enables better patient care and it allows them to add to the body of literature. And here in the library we are happy to support him – we are members of each of the groups and as well as performing some admin tasks, we carry out literature searches, upload RIS files, and source and upload relevant articles.”




Support collaboration projects from A-Z


In the UK, most junior doctors have the option to volunteer for a research project. Potenza says: “They often come to the library for support and we use Mendeley to manage the whole process.”


A recent research project they supported involved junior doctors from a number of UK hospitals exploring the impact of exercise on adolescent depressive disorders. Potenza and her colleagues helped the doctors transfer the RIS files they needed from another reference manager to Mendeley. They also supported the literature searches and helped de-duplicate the results. “This enabled them to select which articles they wanted to feature in their systematic reviews. We also provided remote training on the Mendeley highlighting and note functionalities via phone and email. The group is now doing their final write-up and are using Mendeley for the referencing.”



Build knowledge through journal clubs


According to Potenza, clinicians at her trust still place a high value on the opportunities offered by journal clubs to critically evaluate journal articles. She adds: “Clinical commitments were making it difficult for some to attend these physical club meetings, so we've used Mendeley to support wider involvement.”


The trust has clubs for many of the medical specialties; for instance, pediatrics, and the library is a member of each of them. Each session begins with a doctor-in-training assigned the task of finding an article on a particular illness. The idea is that they present the paper during the journal club meeting before attendees discuss the proposed treatment or care, and whether it aligns with the trust’s current protocols. Potenza says: “Once the paper has been chosen, the library uploads it to Mendeley and alerts potential attendees, who are given time to add comments, with each person assigned their own highlighting color.” She adds: “This approach gives people time to read all the feedback and even if they can't attend the meeting, they’ve had an opportunity to contribute to the discussion.” 


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Want to know more?


Potenza took part in the Library Connect webinar Setting researchers up for success with better workflow (incl. remotely) held in April. She was just one of the guest speakers – you’ll find her presentation between the timestamp 20:34 and 32:20. Access the recorded version of the webinar by clicking on the link below.