Friday, October 2, 2009

How to keep up on your favorite journals

Researchers live busy lives. Either you are spending your waking hours writing grant proposals, running experiments, analyzing data, writing papers, preparing lectures, supervising students, attending committee meetings, and not to mention taking care of your personal life. Often the activity that slips to the bottom of this list is keeping up on the current literature. How should one go about maximizing their ability to efficiently peruse recent publications. I think the best approach is to use journals RSS feeds (otherwise known as Really Simple Syndication). RSS is a web format that allows publishers to syndicate the abstracts of papers as they are published online.

The simplest way to do this is to make sure you have a Google account and use their Google reader. If you go to a journal's website you click on either of these symbols:

You'll be sent to their RSS feed page and at the top is a subscription option and you can select Google to subscribe using:

When you click on 'Subscribe Now', it prompts you to select the Google homepage or reader -I use reader, but that just depends on your preference. You can subscribe to as many Journals as you want, and I think that all the major ones have RSS set up. Then to keep up on recently published papers, you simply go to your Google reader and scroll through the journals you have RSS subscriptions. Or if you check it more often, the reader keeps a list of the most recent items from all your subscriptions. No more getting e-mail alerts and no more going to a bunch of different journal pages.

By the way, you can also subscribe to this blog in the same way (see 'subscribe to' links on side panel).


jabberwockyecology said...

Looks like great ecological blogging minds think alike :) While a lot of journals do have feeds there are still some pretty big ones that don't (e.g. JTB) and a number of others that desperately need to improve the quality of their feed's content.

jabberwockyecology said...

Oops, here's what the second link should have been.

Marc Cadotte said...

Thanks Ethan, Definitely worth reminding publishers what journal readers need.