In between homeschooling three children, Zoom meetings, online teaching, Skype vivas, and emergency grant reviews, Alex wonders:
How do I keep track of all the newly published research out there?
I am sure it’s on the minds of many of our fellow academics, who just reside bored in their homes at these times. What else to do during a pandemic other than scouring Twitter for the newest EarthArXiv preprint? That is one amazing way to keep up to date with the latest scientific lockdown epiphanies of male academics. Make sure you Twitter-stalk all the bright-minded leaders in your field for their life lessons on productivity, paper writing, and finally landing that permanent job in your mid-40s. Moreover, after you read their preprints in between Zoom vivas make sure you leave thorough and thoughtful feedback on how they could improve their manuscript without any apparent gain for your career. After all, science is about collaboration.
Another self-evident option is to set-up an e-mail alert using your favourite keywords. You know its all about staying alert these days! Make sure you include relevant tags such as #TheEarth as you wouldn’t want to miss out on any potentially relevant items. Is there anything more urgent during lockdown other than catching up with the annual paper published by the same group, on the same topic, with the same introduction, same methods, slightly different sample? In this day and age it’s simply key to stay on top of the latest published science by getting constant notifications on your phone; scour through yet the same equations in order to understand the importance of adding yet another variable. Moreover, if recent studies indicate that this particular variable has a different second decimal value than previously thought, you need to dig in asap.
Most importantly though, the best time to check out a newly published paper (especially if its from your academic arch enemy) is now! Found that tweet at 8 am while feeding your child? Got that Google Scholar notification e-mail at 11 pm? Read. It. Now. NOW! Don’t let it pile up. Otherwise you’ll miss out on the logical, elegant progression of human thought that is showcased only through academic publishing nowadays.
The Sassy Scientist
PS: This post was written reflecting on the question: has any novel theoretical framework been published since the 60-70s in your field?
PS2: Fancy new techniques do not count.