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Keeping up to date with the latest research

There are many tools available to you that will help you keep up to date with the latest research in your field. They each have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on how you like to work, so try them out to see if they suit your workflow.

Publisher websites and social media accounts
Citation database alerts
Reference managers
Altmetrics
Journal Table of Content (ToC) alert services
Apps
Conference proceedings

Publisher websites and social media accounts

  • ToC (Table of Content) email alerts via publishers for individual journals e.g. Royal Society of Chemistry, Elsevier ScienceDirect
  • Social media – Twitter and Facebook pages for publishers and/or individual journal titles e.g. Royal Society of Chemistry
  • RSS feeds

N.B. Personalised or institutional accounts are usually required to login and set up e-ToC alerts, but you can still see the content of journal/publisher Facebook and Twitter feeds from journal websites without having to have an account yourself.

Good …

  • If you favour particular journals
  • If you have social media accounts

Not so good …

  • You have to create alerts for each journal
  • Visiting the website repeatedly if you don’t have a social media account

Citation database alerts

  • Save and re-run searches on citation databases e.g. Web of Science, Scopus
  • Search alerts - alert automatically searches the last update to the database, and then sends all relevant results to you by e-mail e.g. Web of Science, Scopus
  • Citation alerts – receive an email when someone cites an individual article or articles on a topic that you have found on a database e.g. Web of Science, Scopus

Good …

  • For keeping up to date with multiple journals with multiple publishers
  • You can see who is citing papers you (or someone else) have authored
  • Saves time by running searches routinely for you
  • You can access full the text from the email that is sent to you

Reference managers

Look for reference managers' ‘share/collaborate’ functionality, e.g. Mendeley, Zotero, EndNoteWeb.

Good …

  • For streamlining your workflow if using a particular reference manager/citation database
  • If you like social media and connecting with other researchers

Not so good …

  • If you use a different reference manager to your colleagues

Altmetrics

Use altmetrics to track articles and receive email alerts when a particular item such as a journal article is mentioned, by using unique IDs such as DOIs, or keywords.

Good ...

  • Monitor the attention that a paper or other item that you or someone else has authored receives on social media, in newspapers, in patents, in policy documents etc.
  • Discover how your research may be being used in a way you’ve not considered
  • Discover popular new content to read e.g. a Tweet may mention something interesting in relation to your work

Not so good ...

  • Altmetrics do not indicate the quality of the research being mentioned
  • Altmetrics do not track all the sources where a paper is mentioned as people do not always include the DOI in their newspaper article, blog, tweet, etc.

Journal Table of Content (ToC) alert services

Specialist services that will send you alerts for multiple journals, the most popular being Zetoc and JournalToCs:

Journals ToCs Zetoc
Heriot-Watt University British Library table of contents service
Free Free to UK Universities
Covers 26,700+ scholarly journal TOCs including 9,360+ selected Open Access journals from 2,701+ publishers Email alerts sent when articles published in a particular journal, by a particular author, or on a particular topic
Search for journals by title or ISSN ToCs of 29,000+ journals
Search for articles by keyword 52m article citations and conference papers
Browse publishers or subjects (e.g. 834+ journals in Chemistry) Citations only – with links to the full text at Cambridge if subscribed
Tick journal titles to ‘follow’ them and tick to receive email alerts when new papers published From 1993 to date
Export citations to Zotero reference manager using Firefox plugin Updated daily
Links to journal homepage only All subjects covered

Access via personal account

 

Journal must be held by British Library in order to be included in Zetoc
  Access via Raven login and password (institutional login via ‘University of Cambridge’)

Good …

  • Can be used to search for papers on a topic and alert you
  • If you like RSS feeds
  • Emails link you directly to the full text, if subscribed

Not so good …

  • Not all journals are covered e.g. Zetoc is a British Library product and will only provide alerts for journals they currently subscribe to
  • You may therefore have to use another alert service in conjunction

Apps

Download apps for your favourite journals onto your mobile device. They are advertised via publisher websites, and are available to download from your app store. When installing the app, you will need to authenticate via Raven password while on the University network once only, and then you will be able to access University subscribed content from anywhere. You can set up notifications to appear whenever new journal articles are published, according to your search criteria. Tried and tested in Cambridge examples are Wiley, RSC Mobile. Please see the Chemistry Library Blog posts on journal apps added to the library tablets.

Here are links to some lists of apps and mobile friendly journal websites compiled by other University libraries, so bear in mind that some may offer content and functionality specific to that library (we hope to provide a Cambridge and chemistry specific list soon):

Good …

  • Usually free
  • If you favour particular journals
  • Can download content to read offline
  • Can access University subscribed content from anywhere
  • Can share content

Not so good …

  • Only recent content is usually available
  • Might not (yet) be available - or for your device's OS (Operating System e.g. Android, iOS)

Conference proceedings

The outcome of research is often presented at a conference before any reports are published, so searching conference proceedings can be a good way of finding out about the latest research on your topic. Please see our Conference proceedings web page for further information about finding conference proceedings.

Good ...

  • You can include conference proceedings in your citation and subject database searches, as well as on Google Scholar, so you don't necessarily have to perform separate searches for them. They can be included in your alerts too.
  • Conference proceedings are included in Zetoc, which also saves you time when searching.

Not so good ...

  • There are many sources of conference proceedings and they are often published and indexed in different ways, making them harder to track down.
  • They are not always published promptly, or at all.