In the Plant Physiology publishing workshop held at Plant Biology 2016, the question arose of how people keep up with the huge number of papers being published.
Mike Blatt shared the strategy used by his lab, which I’m familiar with as an honorary member. The lab group meets weekly, and two of every four meetings are set aside for journal summaries. Half the lab members report one week, and the other half the next week. Each individual is assigned two or three journals to report on. Each report consists of a short summary of the papers of interest to the group, with accompanying written reports posted in a shared lab folder. In addition to the topics most relevant to the lab (cell biology, ion channels, guard cell dynamics, ABA signaling), the reporters alert the group to other articles of broad general interest such as breakthrough technologies. Often, of the hundred or so papers described during a journal summary session, one or two are selected for more in-depth discussion during a subsequent meeting. One thing I like about this approach is that it helps students develop the skill and habit of browsing tables of contents.
How do you keep up with the literature? Do you make use of emailed electronic tables-of-contents (eTOCs)? Do you subscribe to RSS feeds? Do you follow journals on Twitter or Facebook? Do you meet regularly with your team to share your findings? Do you use a file-sharing service such as Mendeley? Do you rely on word of mouth from colleagues in your lab or department? Have you given up on keeping up? Do you employ a need-to-know strategy, doing a thorough literature search when you are writing?
Please share your good suggestions to help those who struggle with the task of keeping up with the literature! It seems that Plantae offers opportunity for private or public groups to share journal summaries and flag interesting papers, what do you think?