It is a great thing that so much amazing scientific research is being done right now in the world. Those elegant studies that have developed into interesting stories that expand our knowledge of science are a joy to read. These often feature in the "top" journals and may make headlines (hopefully written up within a useful context). There are other hidden gems that may not immediately jump out, but on further reading reveal a crucial piece of information that helps with your own research puzzle, or provides a protocol that allows you to do something you didn't realize was possible. Basically there is a lot of science written and published by an ever increasing number of journals, the trouble is prioritizing what to read!
How to keep abreast of the most exciting research in your field? RSS feeds and pub med/Google scholar searches are fine if you are very specific about what you search for but you still need to make a decision about what terms to look for or which journals to follow. On the first day of my PhD I was given the group's "Journal Watch" list, a many times photocopied sheet of paper with 20 or so journal TOCs and AOPs to check regularly. Email alerts for these journals can be useful but you still have to trawl through the table of contents, that is if the email doesn't get inadvertently junked or skipped over. Review articles and perspectives are brilliant for guiding you towards excellent primary articles, but only if you are looking for at a specific gene, pathway, disease etc.
During my PhD I was very lucky to be able to write with my supervisor as an associate faculty member of the Faculty of 1000 (F1000). For this we wrote short pieces highlighting exciting developments in the field of Leukocyte Activation. This F1000 Prime service is an excellent way to be alerted to articles that are not just published in high impact journals, but those that are having a real impact on researchers post peer-review. Articles are selected by faculty members and rated for their contribution to the field (with a metric value to match), this ensures you can see the best recommended papers easily. A personalised homepage and email alerts can be tailored to your key words. I found this service immensely useful during my PhD and enjoyed writing for F1000 so much that I started this blog, albeit with a focus on open access articles and better explanations for non-scientists.
So I was excited when I saw a netoworking event in London organised by the F1000 to meet with staff and users of the service. There was a lively discussion about reaearch, open access publishing, scientific communication and data metrics. It was during this event that I discovered I could continue my passion for F1000 as a specialist, explaining and promoting their services including F1000 prime, which I was familiar with from use during my PhD, as well as F1000 Posters, F1000 Trials and F1000 Research. So I have once again joined the F1000 community (see the great new badge on the left of my blog), and I am keener than ever to help F1000 grow and to communicate the exciting advances in disseminating research where it matters! I am currently trialling a new Journal club feature of the F1000 website, so expect more about how this goes very soon!