Keeping Current

Research Support

Keeping Current

It is vital for researchers to keep up to date in your chosen subject areas, as keeping up to date will ensure you are aware of new research so it can feed in to / inform your work.

In addition, making sure your knowledge is current will ensure you know who is working in your subject area, allowing more chances for collaboration and helping you to become part of a research community.

The content of this guide was last updated in November 2023.

Journal Table of Content Services

You can sign up to have the table of contents (TOC) of a chosen journal emailed to you each time a new issue of the journal is published.

It is very useful if there are vital journals in your subject area which you need to keep track of and it ensures you know about the articles published within them immediately.

This can be done through services like JournalTOCs, and sometimes at a journal home page or through a database.

Journal TOCs

The JournalTOCs service contains the newest papers coming directly from the publishers as soon as they have been published.

JournalTOCs is free to use, but you will have to sign up, after which you can start using the service.

You can see details about your account and the journals you are following from your account.

Once signed in, you can search for a journal title using the search box on the left. Make sure to pick the For Journals by Title or ISSN option.

From the list of results, tick the box next to your preferred journal. You will now receive emails with the table of contents whenever a new issue is published.

You can also look for articles. It's a basic search, but it may help pinpoint interesting journals.

Browsing for journals by subject or publisher is also possible.

Alerts from Journal Home Pages

Sometimes you can set up a table of contents alert from a journal home page.

For some journals you will need a subscription (either through RGU or your own individual subscription) to be able to do this but for others you will be able to do this without a subscription.

TOC Alerts from Databases

Some databases will offer you the chance to set up alerts for the tables of contents of journals they detail.

This is often offered at the same time as search alerts.

Search Alerts

When you save a search and set up an alert, the search will be run periodically, usually at a set time. You will be emailed about any new results.

This is very useful as it will let you keep track of a specific subject area and give you results from a wide range of journals.

This service is offered through individual databases, so you may need to set up several alerts within these.

Databases Offering Search Alerts

Here are some of the databases with search alerts facility:

Other Options

Discussion Groups / Mailing Lists

A useful way to receive notification of new research, conferences, publications, web-sites and much more.

They can give you a place to ask and answer queries and will allow you to connect with other people in your area of interest.

One of the main places you can locate and join mailing lists related to the UK education and research communities is through the JiscMail site.

Log in via the institutional log in link at the top of the screen, locate lists you are interested in and apply to join them. You will then get emails that are posted to the mailing list and can post and join in on the discussion as well.

JiscMail also offers you the chance to look at an archive of previous posts and search as well.

Social Media

The immediacy of social media makes it a great place to find up to date material especially as it is frequently used as a publicity tool e.g. for conferences.

It is also used to raise people’s profiles and make research results more prominent again making it a great way to find out about research.

Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc. are all useful for current awareness, the keys is finding out who to follow: conferences, journals, publishers, authors, professional bodies are a good idea.

There could be some cons to using social media: you do need to track down and work out who to follow, you may miss announcements.

Academic Networks

Another great way to connect with other researchers, promote your own profile, and keep up to date with your subject area. Make sure that you find the right networks for you!

Here are some of the most well known professional and academic networks:

Newsletters and Website Email Alerts

Newsletters and email alerts let you get notification of new material on websites, news articles, new events and so on. This can be very useful if there are key web sites in your subject area.

For example, DesignBoom and Conal Conference Alerts allow you to sign up for newsletters or email alerts.

RSS Feeds

RSS helps you keep up to date with changes to online resources whether it's a journal, web page, news site or something else.

You subscribe to feeds wherever there is the orange RSS symbol and they push content to you. You need to have a way to manage and view your feeds such as a reader like Feedly.

Find out more about RSS feeds in this RSS introductory video.