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Taming the Literature

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? This is due to some recent experiences I’ve had with papers published in both the larger highly reputable journals and smaller niche journals…

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

When I worked in technical service 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…

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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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Go Pubmed!

GoPubmed is a powerful new way to search the literature. As the name suggests, it is based on our old, familiar friend the Pubmed database but GoPubmed provides a whole new set of tools that will power-up your search. After entering your search term into the search box at gopubmed.org, GoPubmed mines a vast array…

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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 Limits tab? History? Details? Have you set up automatic updates with MyNCBI? Do you know how PubMed relates to the other NCBI databases?…

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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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