Mendeley, the citation sharing tool, and the Columbia University Libraries have agreed to jointly develop a graphical and user-friendly Citation Style Language editor, which will enable academic researchers to develop their own citation styles, significantly simplifying the creation of manuscripts for publication in journals.

The objective is to make the open-source tool as flexible as possible so that users can freely develop their own bibliographic styles for annotated bibliographies, personal resumes or cases where citation conventions are unnecessarily complex. The final code will be deposited into an open-source repository, which will enable the larger developer community to build upon the advances in visual manipulation of markup language made possible by this collaboration.

 "A large amount of researcher time is spent formatting documents, rather than getting on with the creation of great research," says Ian Mulvany, VP Product at Mendeley. "By working on an open implementation of an editor for an open citation style standard that works with a variety of reference managers, including Mendeley, we can help take some of the pain out of the research process. By building on top of an open standard, we can help to accelerate the adoption of that standard to the benefit of many academic communities." 

"Collaborating with a talented group of developers like those at Mendeley really affords us, as an academic institution, the opportunity to provide useful tools to our community that we wouldn't have been able to provide otherwise," says Jeffrey Lancaster, Emerging Technologies Coordinator at Columbia University Libraries. "By ensuring that these tools are open-source and available to the larger academic community, we can also provide direction and a foundation upon which others can then build. Our goal is to make contributions both locally and broadly, and this collaboration presents us with a tremendous opportunity to accomplish that goal."

The $125,000 funding is provided by The Digital Information Technology Program at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, an initiative focused on scholarly research and public engagement through digital information technology.