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I'm curious to know how you keep up with new publications in your field and various conferences that are happening. I seem to miss really great conferences and find articles a year or more after they have been published.

How do you keep track? Have you tried an RSS feed?

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    Subscribe to arxiv.org and regularly check e.g. this site.
    – user68958
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 16:02
  • Benty-fields is good but I think it's physics/ arXiv only. Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 18:33
  • I should also add that in in the domain of CS, medial imaging and electrophysiology.
    – ggilmore
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 19:20
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    @corey979 That should be an answer, not a comment. Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 6:33

6 Answers 6

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Yes, the sea of information is immense, but you can keep a pretty good handle on it, especially with the tools available today. And one key to remember is that research is done by people. Often there is a core group of scholars in each field that do the most to move that field forward. Here are a few ideas of what you could do, and certainly there are more:

  • Use alerts on Google Scholar or other search engines
  • Follow other researchers in your field on social media
  • Meet some of the other researchers in your field, if you haven't already, and keep in touch with them
  • Do a search every so often just to see what is out there. You can also search in other ways, such as for a particular researcher or group and see the direction their articles is going in.
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The short answer is that there is no way: a normal person just cannot trace the work of a few hundred people, read (with details) 3-5 papers a day and go to one conference every fortnight himself. The more typical situation is that you work on a few problems and communicate to a few people with similar interests, who communicate to a few more people each and go to a few conferences, etc., so if something relevant and exciting happens somewhere, it reaches you in 2-3 steps but the routine that might interest you in general but hardly has any direct impact on your current work goes unnoticed. If you are just a year behind the current trends, you are 10 years ahead of me, so it shouldn't really bother you too much.

With all this said, if you want to "keep your hand on the pulse" more than you currently do, get into the habit of visiting standard places like arXiv, try to figure out what would be a few journals that publish interesting stuff for you and read them on a regular basis, scan conference ads online and in your field society bulletins once a month, but, above all, talk to people both around you and across the globe. Despite all modern search engines like Google, the word of mouth and the grapevine remain the most efficient communication channels, as far as I can tell.

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  • “One person can’t... [do a list of things]” You probably could, if that was all you were doing. Of course, basically everyone in academia has other responsibilities like classes and/or research of their own.
    – nick012000
    Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 8:24
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I use the following for learning about new articles. Mathematics, inverse problems.

  • RSS feed for the relevant Arxiv categories (alternatively, arxivist.com)
  • Google scholar profile with notifications of articles that cite my articles. Scholar also maintains a list of articles similar to the ones you have cited and adds new articles there.
  • With Google scholar, it is possible to follow the new articles or citations or related research of other people with scholar profile. I do this to a very selected list of scientists. It is also possible to follow the citations to a given article; this is mostly useful if none of the authors have a profile, but they have an article or two relevant for your work.

For conferences in inverse problems, I use the Finnish inverse problems society's list of conferences.

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For conferences, in various research areas there are (national, regional or international) mailing lists on which they are announced. For instance, in numerical analysis we have NA-digest. Maybe a big-list question here could collect their addresses.

Even though I like RSS feeds, it seems that they have lost this battle and people keep using plain old mailing lists instead.

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I collected all relevant arxiv categories and a bunch of main journals to an RSS feed and it helped me a lot. I agree, that it is impossible to keep up with the pace, but I found this better than reading weekly/monthly newsletters.

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I use http://zetoc.jisc.ac.uk/ to alert me when major journals in my field publish a new issue. There are a few missing from their list that would be relevant for me though.

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