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Taming the Literature

18+ Ways to Improve your PubMed searches

Do you *really* know what you’re doing when you search for articles in PubMed? Are you familiar with Boolean operators? What does “MeSH” mean to you? Can you locate (and use) the Advanced Search Builder? Have you set up automatic updates with My NCBI? Do you know how PubMed relates to the other NCBI databases?…

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How to Read a Scientific Paper Efficiently

Keeping up with the scientific literature in your field of interest is incredibly important. Not only does it keep you informed as to what your competitors have been working on, it will also help shape and guide your experimental plans. But let’s face it, in our results driven world reading new scientific papers often falls…

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Three Cool Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do On PubMed

Literature searches are a constant in every scientist’s daily life. We spend (or should spend) most of our time accumulating information. We search the literature before we start a new project, while we’re writing a grant proposal, when we’re designing/troubleshooting a tricky experiment, when we finally write that manuscript, and even when everything is going…

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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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Using PubCrawler: How to Speed Up Your Literature Searches by Crawling

It often seems like a full-time job searching PubMed for the latest papers on adult neurogenesis, mutations in kinase genes that lead to cancer, or the newest papers published from a major figure in your field. However, falling behind on the latest published research can also be a significant source of stress. In search of…

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7 Tips to Improve Your Literature Survey

A good literature survey is the nucleus of every experiment, around which the whole project starts to revolve. Searching smartly can save you a lot of physical and mental strain. I feel that I can provide a few of my own tricks for your bag.

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Keeping Track of Your Literature

Keeping track of the scientific literature you have read is just as important as reading it in the first place.  You want to have your key papers on hand for easy access.  This will make writing easier and will also help when you are trying to convince your PI of the importance of doing a…

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Useful Tips to Keep on Top of New Literature

It’s a gut wrenching feeling to come across a paper that impacts your work, and even worse when it turns out the paper is weeks or even months old. Perhaps finding that paper earlier would have saved you time with your experiments or change the direction of your project. It used to be (long before…

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How to get Organised With Reference Managers for Science- Zotero

My previous posts have discussed the features of several reference managers, some of which are free and others that are paid. Last, but certainly not least, I would like to draw your attention to another free software, Zotero (pronounced zoh-TAIR-oh). Originally a Firefox add-on, Zotero now also has a standalone desktop application, which can be…

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How to get Organised With Reference Managers for Science- EndNote

Last week we discussed Papers, which is a well-known reference manager used by many academics. Today I am focusing on what might be the most well-known reference manager – EndNote. Thomson Reuters’ EndNote is often available free through Universities. And if you have this opportunity, you should definitely take advantage of it!  If you want…

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How To Get Organized With Reference Managers for Science – ReadCube

In my last post on reference managers I discussed Mendeley, a well-established reference manager and the one I’m most familiar with. Today I am going to tell you about ReadCube, a more recent addition to the referencing software market brought to you from Labtiva. ReadCube was created by two Harvard students, Siniša Hrvatin and Robert…

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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 To Get Organized With Reference Managers for Science – Mendeley

In this series of posts we are discussing the features of popular reference managers.  This post covers Mendeley, one of the most established reference managers.  I have a special fondness for Mendeley as it is the software that I used to organise all my literature during my PhD. Mendeley is a free reference manager program…

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How To Get Organized With Reference Managers for Science – An Overview

The internet has provided us with simpler and quicker access to the latest research published in science, allowing us to view and download articles to keep for future reference. But how do you manage to keep such a mountain of papers organised, ensuring that you can easily find that paper you read the other week…

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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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Setting up a PubMed Alert in 3 Easy Steps

We all know what a pain reading is. It’s what we start our PhDs doing, and from that point on we never stop doing it. Keeping up-to-date with current research in our field is vital: you don’t want to be going down one route with your research, only to find that it’s already been done…

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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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