Better Grad Student

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40 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Links: Day 10

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I’m all about saving time in whatever it is I do. One thing that we should all be spending a good portion of our time on is reading the literature. It can be challenging to find new papers to read, especially if you’re just searching for random keywords once every week or so. Fortunately, there are tools that are readily available to you to automate this process of seeking out new papers. By taking 10 minutes now, you can save yourself hours on the road in future literature searches, and you’ll always guarantee that you have a fresh crop of papers waiting for you.

PubCrawler is the first service that I would recommend. This website will scan the PubMed and Genline databases based on keywords that you provide. I chose to have it send me a weekly email on Sunday evening, so that, come Monday morning, I would have a fresh batch of papers to look through and see if I wanted to read. PubMed is more geared towards the biology/medicinal field, so some journals that you’re interested may not show up (although the journals they do cover is pretty thorough). Google does have an alerts feature that will return results from blogs and news sources related to keywords that you provide. I’ve found this to be useful on occasion, but not nearly as useful as PubCrawler. The last option is to subscribe via RSS to the journals that you are interested in (I’ll do a post on what RSS is later). This will give you daily updates on what’s being published in the journal. This isn’t as convenient as searching based on keywords, but it will give you more up to date information.

Unfortunately, that’s about all that I know of for automating the search for papers. It is possible to search several sources at once using tools like Google Scholar, Papers, and Web of Science, but these aren’t automated processes. For those of you in the non-bio related fields, I definitely recommend setting up a calendar reminder to do a literature search once a week based on a few specific keywords. Until something better comes up, this looks like your only option. Happy Hunting!

P.S. If I’ve missed any tools, or if somebody knows of a better way to find articles, let me know and I’ll be sure to update this post. Thanks!

Please tell me what you think in the comments! Also, if you like what you’ve been reading here, sign up at the top of the page to receive emails every time I make a new post. Thank you for reading!

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Written by Taylor M.

March 19, 2011 at 9:55 am

Posted in The Basics

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