As a Professor, how do you identify new papers to expose yourself to new ideas?

Most of what I read now is derivative of old favorites or my own work. Journals in my area don't do a good job of grouping my somewhat interdisciplinary interests. I have found more new interesting work through popular sources like newspapers, Pocket, and magazines reporting on journal papers than any other source in the last year.

I want new favorite papers, unconnected to my present pet ideas. This is hard for me, and for several of my peers, when I asked. How do you do it?

I'm interested in useful strategies (a unconventional search ritual?), services (Pocket for journal articles?), or products (tinder for papers?). I'm interested in things outside of what a google search about this will provide. Yes, I have heard of researchgate and google scholar.

  • 3
    Why do you think the answer depends on career stage? – Anonymous Physicist Nov 21 '19 at 4:04

CS/AI perspective

I get to them by

a. reviewing (you get stuff outside your field every once in a while)

b. Collaboration with colleagues outside my field (can be really fun but can take a while as you get used to each other’s discipline and its idiosyncrasies).

c. Going to seminars, listening to talks in conferences outside my field.


Checking through "academic social media" like Google Scholar, Researchgate, etc, and apparently Twitter (not sure how this works if you use it not only for work). Sometimes there are interesting suggestions from people I have no connection to (many suggestions are useless though). Also, following (on the same platforms) people with similar interests, or that share parts of your interest, will allow you to see their work, as well as work they "like".

I also like walking around in poster sessions and having a short look at every poster(title). I see many people following a strict list of posters they want to see - however, I feel that I discover a lot of interesting things just by walking around.


Go to conferences and go to talks outside your immediate area. Review lots of papers (and do a good job so you get even more reviewing duties). Become an editor of a journal. Offer to come for seminar talks at other universities and talk to the people there.

These are all ways to go outside your comfort zone and see what others are doing.

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