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Taming the Literature

18+ Ways to Improve your PubMed Searches

Are you getting the most out of your PubMed searches or are you wasting lots of time slogging through pages of results? We’ve compiled some top tips to help you refine your searches.

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Making an impact: Pros and cons to impact factor

How do we decide whether our research is having an impact or not? Is there a way to quantify the effect or judge the quality of the articles? Read on to find out about the nuances behind “impact factor.”

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How to get Organised With Reference Managers for Science- Papers

My previous posts on reference mangers have discussed Mendeley and ReadCube. Today I will be discussing Papers, the reference manager I first encountered and the one favoured by many academics, including my PhD supervisor. For anyone who is a fan of Apple products, Papers is likely to be the software you are most familiar with.…

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How Not to Miss (Almost) Any Article on PubMed

Reading papers (still) remains the standard way to follow advances in our field(s), to track our collaborators/competitors, or to enjoy some digressive but scientifically entertaining moments. As scientists, we read all the time. However, reading can become a highly chronophagic activity, especially when we need to perform experiments, attend conferences and write grant applications at…

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What Can Mendeley Do For You?

Sometimes it feels like all we do, as scientists, is read other people’s work.  In which case, it’s not surprising that the first software that was impressed upon me as a new postgraduate student was for reference management. At my university, we are encouraged to use EndNote, so this is what I started on. A…

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How Text-Mining Tools Can Improve Your Literature Searches

Before starting any new research project, it’s essential that you have as complete an understanding as possible of the current research literature. Knowing what other people have done will prevent you from duplicating existing work, and will perhaps indicate under-explored niches. If you work in the same subject area over a number of years, you…

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Using GoogleDocs to Write Collaborative Research Papers

When it comes to writing up a research paper, there are many ways to go about it. If it’s just you doing most of the writing, with your supervisor, it is quite straightforward – you can just maintain a single copy of the document and exchange it by email. Software like Microsoft Word can track…

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Can We Live Without Peer Review?

Jef Akst has posted an interesting article over at The Scientist discussing a new system for scientists to publish their work directly to the web without traditional journals or the peer review system. Radical, to say the least. In this system, once a group believes that their research is ready for public dissemination they can…

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Reading Papers On-Screen

Reading papers on-screen is not something that everyone likes but if you can get used to it, it will help save you time and paper and make filing your literature a breeze. If you use a wide flatscreen monitor, something that is 17inch or bigger, then this tip could make your on-screen reading more pleasurable.…

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How To RTFP (Read the F*****g Paper)

There are, of course, times when it’s ok to just read one part of a paper.  For example, if you only need to know how an experiment was done, just read the methods section or when you simply want what happened, just read the results.   But much of the time this targeted sort of reading…

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Is Peer Review Broken?

This past week I found myself asking this question quite a few times. What is going on with the peer review process? Is anyone actually reviewing the papers getting into journals anymore? It is some recent experiences I’ve had with papers published in both the larger highly reputable journals and smaller niche journals that have…

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RTFP (Read the F*****g Paper)

The critical review of scientific papers is a fundamental skill for researchers. Check out our tips to get the most out of reading a paper.

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BiomedExperts: An Alternative Way to Search The Literature

If you have ever looked closely at Pubmed, you might have noticed that it’s not easy to search for all publications by a single author, to see everything that your collaborator has published or to see what the top people in your field are publishing. Pubmed just isn’t set up to allow you to focus…

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Get PDFs ASAP with Pubget

After quite a long hiatus (which included a conference in Hawaii, whoo hoo!), I’m back to highlight a cool and relatively new search engine for scientific literature that is going to make you squeal with glee (ok, it made me squeal at least). I’m assuming that you’re very familiar with how to identify relevant research…

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Why You Should Never Trust a Patent

If you search the literature using a comprehensive search engine like Google Scholar, you will get several types of articles listed. Most of them are peer reviewed journal articles and many are patents. But beware of an important distinction between the two: Although patents can contain useful information, they are not authoritative because they are not…

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Mendeley: Easy Research Paper Management

I couldn’t do without iTunes to store and sort all of my music according genre, artist, album and even fetch the album art from the net. And I always wished there was something like this to sort the gazillion publications that I have in PDF format. Not being a Mac user, I couldn’t use Papers,…

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New Journal Ranking Tool

Thompson Scientific is great for gaging the impact factors of various journals, but it has had a bit of a monopoly on journal rankings. As with any ranking scheme, there can be more than one valid way of comparing alternatives. Enter a new ranking tool – that’s free – the SCImago Journal Rank database. This…

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Keeping up on the journals

As scientists, we have to keep up with new research coming out and follow the journals. We all have our preferred way of doing so though. Sporadic searches on Pubmed are one way, or weekly email updates on specific search terms (also offered by Pubmed) are another. Alternatively, there’s Hubmed for RSS of Pubmed updates,…

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Open Access to Science

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) defines the issue of Open Access Publication as: An Open Access Publication[1] is one that meets the following two conditions: 1. The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display…

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Better Pubmed Journal Searches

Ever get too many hits from your Pubmed searches? Using field tags allows you to generate more specific searches than keywords alone, saving you from trawling through hundreds of irrelevant articles.

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