LeWeb: Mendeley – the last.fm for academics

[UK] Mendeley wants to be the Last.fm for research papers. The company offers a free academic desktop software for managing and sharing research papers and a website where you can back up the data and connect to like-minded researchers. For anyone working on a thesis this might seem like a godsend.

Watch Mendeley’s pitch at 00:11:56

The service automatically extracts data from research papers and can also generate bibliographies.

Being an academic oriented start-up, the company also wants generate research statistics and recommendations.

Mendeley has already had some initial success and is already being recommended by universities such as Dartmouth College, Cornell University and Cambridge University. It was also featured by The Guardian as the #6 Top 100 tech media companies and as the Best Social Innovation Which Benefits Society at TechCrunch Europas 2009.

The success isn’t so surprising though when you look at some of the names behind the company. Mendeley is sporting a pretty impressive list of collaborators on its website and was funded by some of the people behind Skype and Last.fm.

The company have already attracted 100 000 users since they launched private beta 11 months ago. If the trend continues the company will be one of the biggest academic databases online. The question is how big the market for this kind of service is. At the moment the site just being used by researchers and universities, but Mendeley hopes to branch out and get more business customers in the future.

Mendeley wants to get science out there quicker. Today it usually takes about two years before any research gets published to a larger audience, Mendeley wants to get the data out there in real-time.