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Taming the Literature

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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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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How to Read a Scientific Paper

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. At the same time, a balance is required between being well read-up and being productive…

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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 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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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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