Casting your net...

Mar 14 2011 Published by under Grad School, PubMed

So I think one of the smartest things that I did as a grad student was to create an NCBI account so that I could schedule in saved weekly searches of the PubMed database.  That way I don't miss the pertinent literature or have to go lurking for it, it comes straight to me.  For instance, lets say you study Rump Shakin, why not follow the big whig Rump Shaka of your field, that way you can see that groovy person's new papers to determine if they are pushing the field more towards the Humpty Dance or are they skewing towards Poppin & Lockin.  There are endless possibilities of searches to set up and can come to you, daily, weekly, monthly, etc, but here are some that I recommend:

-Big Whigs in the field

-Competitors (always good to know what they are putting out there)

-Your gene or protein

-Your field/subfield (I do a broad and narrow search)

-Collaborators (its sometimes nice to keep tabs on what these scalliwags are up to, when they aren't taking for damn ever to get back to you)

Hope this helps, I use this as a way to comb the literature without literally having to comb it, I just open up my inbox and the beautiful bounty of the aggregated pubs glows like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.  I'm sure many PI's do this but I have known more than a few grad students and postdocs that had no idea of this and were manually searching every week or two for topics.

I'm lazy and if "If Mohammed will not go to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed," then I let the PubMed citations come to me.

13 responses so far

  • Sean says:

    I have been using a combination of RSS and yahoo pipes. I gather together the RSS of the journals that I am interested in and then filter using pipes by keywords.

    I will have to play around with the NCBI approach, thanks for the heads up.

  • leigh says:

    i am all about the RSS. that shit saves me SO much time. sometimes you just have to wander through who-cites-who land to dig for some good stuff, but when your schedule is kicking you in the head, RSS is so full of WIN. also get the tables of contents for your favorite journals delivered straight to your inbox.

    humpty dance... i am having flashbacks to inside jokes from my grad cohort... ahahahahaa!

  • Christina Pikas says:

    You could use Web of Science and/or Scopus this way, too, to follow citations of your articles (or of important articles in your field). In fact, almost all research databases have tools for this so your readers outside of biomed can do the same thing in the engineering or geosciences databases.

    I love my journal RSS feeds - I have them dumping into my google reader and I see the articles before the journal is even published.

  • What Christina said. I use Scopus because not only does it include everything that can be found in PudMed, but it casts an even wider net for other journals as well (which helps for those of us not involved directly in the medical sciences any longer/at all). Same goes for WoS.

  • Eugenie says:

    I vote for scopus and ISI.. they're the shit, more or less.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    I usually forget to tell my trainees to do this because I think it so obvious. Thx for the reminder

  • renee says:

    Ok, so here’s my first comment! I took a class a couple of years back that was totally worthless, except for when the professor had us make a ncbi account and set up a daily search with email notification on proteins of our choice. I turned off the search asap after my inbox kept filling up with articles about bmal and clock, but once I was settled into my graduate program I immediately recognized its value. I think it’s worthwhile to diversify the methods by which you gather articles, but I find the ncbi search to be a valuable tool for sure.

  • Liz says:

    I'm all about Google Reader for both specific journals as well as pubmed keyword hits for authors or topics. I don't like getting extra things in my inbox but I like being able to see what's new with a quick click to Reader

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