Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Use Google Reader to get most recent publications from specific author or journal

As a PhD student you are often overwhelmed by the huge number of science articles that are published all the time. It is simply impossible to keep up with everything that is going on even in a rather small field. According to this article in science, as many as 27.000 articles are published weekly!

In this information overload, one of the best tools you can have is google reader (or your RSS reader of choice). Pubmed (best place to search for scientific publications) allows you to generate RSS feeds based on any search that you do.

For example, one prominent researcher in my field is Christopher Yeo, at UCL in London. Whenever he publishes a new article, independent of whether it is in Science, Nature, or J.Neuroscience, I want to know it immediately. The times when you would simply browse each individual journal are gone, so how do you do it? This is how I do it. (All you need is a google account).

1. First, go to pubmed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/

2. Second, search for whatever it is that you are interested in. In my case it is an author "Yeo CH", but it could also be a number of search terms, e.g. "Classical conditioning" and "Cerebellum".

3. When you get your search results, push the red button saying "RSS" just below the search bar. Choose how many items you want to be able to see (usually I just take the maximum which is 100).

4. Right click on the xml symbol and choose copy link adress. 

5. Next go to google reader: http://www.google.com/reader/, and log in with you google username and password.

6. Press the red subscribe button in the top left corner of your reader window, paste the link adress from Pubmed and press subscribe. 

7. Now you have a list of the 100 most recent articles that match the search terms that you used - and better yet, whenever there is a new item on Pubmed that matches your search terms, this list will get automatically updated. 

Personally I have created an RSS feed for around 20 individual authors that are of particular interest to me. I have also created a feed for about 20 scientific journals that I pay extra attention to.

Below you will find pictures describing the same process.

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