Monday, January 26, 2015

How to stay updated with latest literature

When I was doing Ph. D, online publishing of scientific journals had just learned walking. We were more dependent on hard copies of journals in libraries. For many of us, it used to be a ritual to regularly visit the library and flip through the pages of our favorite journals, to catch the new and relevant to our work. But, the Internet has changed the way we access journals now. It has democratized access to knowledge and also overwhelmed us with information. Hundreds of papers get published every day. Though you may have access to most of those, it’s difficult to keep track of papers of interest. Thankfully, there are tools that can help you to keep you informed about the latest literature in your field. 

E-mail alert by PubMed: NCBI PubMed has changed the way we do biomedical research. You must be searching this database at least once every day. Do you know that you can make an personal account with NCBI to save your searches? Visit MyNCBI page to make an account. Log in your account. Perform a search using a keyword suitable for your research. This time you will get a link for "Save Search", near the top of the search results page. Click it. It will take you to a page to save your search result with option to activate email alert for new results on this key word. You can select the frequency of such update. I select to get update daily, so that whenever there is a new paper, I get informed immediately. You can anytime come back to your MyNCBI page and edit your saved searches. The key of this email alert is the key word(s) used for the search. Therefore, you have to be very careful in choosing them. Use different key words and create saved searches for those. Subsequently, based on the email alerts, you may change the keywords. 

Twitter: Do you Tweet. No am not asking you to use Twitter to add spice to your social life. You can use it as a powerful tool to keep updated with what's happening in your field of study. Most of the reputed journals use social media, including Twitter, to spread news about important papers published by those. Even, scientific associations use Twitter to announce breakthrough in specific fields. Even many scientists use regularly Tweet about latest papers published by them and their peers. So join Twitter. Find out Journals and organizations of your interests in Twitter. Start following them. See if any of your peers is there in Twitter. Follow them too. Then make a habit to scroll through the tweets once daily. And don’t be just an observer. Reciprocate. Tweet about your new publication. Tweet about a recent paper that you found interesting. Build a social network around your science. 

Faculty of 1000: This is what you have always dream of. A bunch of experts reading and flagging latest literature for you. Obviously, this does come with a cost. Subscribe to F1000Prime. Choose particular topics of your interest and even experts to follow from the list. F1000 will send you email alerts whenever your experts review a brilliant paper of your interest.  One day, maybe your paper will also get reviewed by F1000 and get the prestigious badge of F1000 in the PubMed. Till then enjoy reading.