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Staying Current in Biomedical Literature


By Karen Gutzman, Impact and Evaluation Librarian

The abundance of information can be overwhelming. Our well-trod paths to trusted journals, society newsletters, or email listservs become safe harbors in a turbulent sea of information. So how do we find information sources that give us what we need, when we need it? How do we distinguish which sources to spend time on from those we decide to put aside? Staying aware of current information in any field is a time consuming undertaking. Anyone new to a field of research might need help finding the most current information in their field.  Here are a few ideas to get started. 

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Web of Science’s Hot and Highly Cited Papers

Using Web of Science, create a search strategy based on your research interests. Filter the results by Hot Papers in Field (papers in the top 0.1% in the past 2 months) and Highly Cited in Field (papers in the top 10% in the past 10 years), and set up a weekly search alert for your email address.

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PubMed’s “Latest Literature” and “Trending Articles” features

In 2016, PubMed rolled out the “Latest Literature” feature which highlights newly indexed articles from highly accessed journals. Another enhancement* is the “Trending Articles” feature which highlights articles with a significant increase in daily views in the past two days compared to the previous baseline. You can also run a literature search in PubMed on a topic of interest to you, and use “Trending Articles” as a filter on the search results.

* Canese K. PubMed Homepage Enhanced. NLM Tech Bull. 2016 Sep-Oct;(412):e1.

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Scopus’s “Follow this Author” feature

If you know the top researchers in your field, consider following those authors to receive alerts every time they publish a new paper that is indexed in Scopus. Simply use Scopus’s Author Search tab to find the correct person(s), and when in their Author details page, click on the “Follow this Author” button to receive emails on a periodic basis when this author publishes new articles. You can also choose the “Get citation alerts” button for whenever a paper cites one of the author’s papers in Scopus.

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If you want more ideas for staying current on information in your field, see our Galter Library guide on Current Awareness Services. Also, consider contacting your Liaison Librarian to assist in developing a search strategy based on your interests, so that you can set alerts for new content in various databases.

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Updated: March 5, 2020