Finding related work and keeping up to date

by Kyriakos Chatzidimitriou | Mar 10, 2011 23:26 | research


"Göttingen-SUB-old.books". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

One important task as a researcher, is to keep up with all the recent related work in your domain. The items below are what I do personally for following the state or the art. They involve both push notifications in the form of email alerts, and todos that I put on my calendar every two or three months.

1. I have subscribed to the RSS feeds of all well known publishers (Elsevier, IEEE, Springer etc.) for the journals I am interested in. Then using a RSS reader (I personally use Google Reader so that I have my feeds available and synced in all my machines and my mobile phone) in order to get all the articles in press. Every couple of months I spent a couple of hours to check the titles and abstracts. If the article seems interesting or is a related work I download it and read it further.

2. In my browser I have a bookmark folder for the websites of the research groups and researchers working in my area. Again every couple of months I do an “Open All in Tabs” action and browse through the tabs for newly added material. I put a recurrent reminder in my calendar app to check them every 3 months.

3. Through Google Alerts I have created a few queries that return newly added search engine results via email. Once per week new alerts arrive in my mailbox and I do a quick scan. For example a query could be “Echo State Network” in quotes in order to match the whole phrase. Also alerts can be added using Google Scholar, where one can save the searches as email alerts. I have a few of those too.

4. As in item 2, with research groups and researchers, one can have another bookmarks folder for conferences and workshops taking place every year. Some of them publish their proceedings online, so by visiting their websites two-three times a year you can step into the published work.

6. Last but not least, I have subscribed to a number of mailing lists in the areas of my interest. For example some of the lists I am subscribed to are:

  • rl-list (Reinforcement Learning)
  • ML-News (Machine Learning News)
  • reservoir-computing (Reservoir Computing)
  • cig (Computational Intelligence in Games)

among others. Sometimes authors advertise and provide links to their most recent publications, besides just using them for CFPs and job openings.

7. Currently I have started experimenting with social networking sites related to research like Mendeley and ResearchGATE. I’ll see how that goes.

What do you do?