Two weeks ago, I touched on using a reference or citation manager, but where are you finding all of those papers? We all know about google scholar or Web of Science, but why not make the papers come to you? I’m all for getting someone (or something) else to do the work for me, so I’ve been using Google Scholar Alerts to comb the internet for newly published papers for the past few years. From them, I’ve discovered work that I wouldn’t otherwise come across either because it’s from a journal that I don’t normally read or because the work has been published as a pre-print on a server that I don’t normally visit. So what is this magic?
Scholar alerts send you email updates whenever something appears that matches your search terms. You can set these up a few ways, but the easiest is to just search for something in Google Scholar and then click on the “Create alert” button in the left hand sidebar:
Which then leads you to a site where you can set up your specific alert based on search terms. My advice? Be concise with your terms, and use descriptors like “intitle” and quotes to specify phrases, otherwise you get a lot of junk. If you use gmail, consider setting up a filter to put all of these messages in a specific folder that you can access whenever you have some time to do some literature browsing. Then add all of the papers to your reference manager.