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Taming the Literature

Reflect: A Tool to Aid Your Understanding of Online Articles

As a research biologist it is vital to know how to search and comprehend the literature effectively, and at BiteSize Bio there are now several illuminating articles describing how to use PubMed to its fullest capability. However, once you’ve got hold of an online paper, you may need to contend with unfamiliar molecule names and…

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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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How To Read Manuscripts (and anything else) Twice As Fast

I always thought that doing a speed-reading course would be a good thing to do as a scientist. With the amount of literature we need to consume, speed-reading (the art of reading faster without reducing comprehension) would save a lot of time. But it turns out that you don’t really need to spend any cash…

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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)

When I worked in technical services for a well-known biotech company, I have to confess that we often used a certain phrase in the frustration of dealing with calls from angry scientists ranting about a problem they were having with a kit because, as it turned out, they didn’t read the manual. “Read the F***ing manual”…

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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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