Does a Google Scholar Alerts mashup exist?
March 12, 2010 6:33 PM   Subscribe

Is there something like Google Alerts specifically for scientific journals ?

I find myself routinely searching the same set of scientific journals with a specific set of keywords to see if there has been any recent new publications on the topics I am interested in.

Is there a tool/system that will do this automatically?

I know certain sets of publications, ones that belong to the same publisher, allow you to do this. However I'd be interested in something that can span multiple journals from different publishers and also allows you to tailor the keywords for each journal separately.

Being able to search for specific authors would also be a great feature.

Oh, and I'd like it to be web based to avoid a deluge of e-mails.

Does such a beast exist?
posted by toftflin to Education (15 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
PubMed does this.
posted by greatgefilte at 6:38 PM on March 12, 2010

I'm not sure about Google alerts however I find AllTop ( really useful. Simply search 'science' in the search bar and you will find all kinds of scientific news, by topic, aggregated for your use.
posted by MsKim at 6:38 PM on March 12, 2010

Yup, if the journals you are interested in are in PubMed you can save searches and ask for alerts when new results show up in your search. You have to sign up for My NCBI to do this, and of course it can't send the alert until the manuscript is entered into the database, which can sometimes be long after the journal is published, but sometimes it is quite timely.
posted by gubenuj at 6:39 PM on March 12, 2010

Actually, on second glance, I'm not sure if can customize it to certain journals, but I imagine there must be some way of doing it if you construct search correctly.
posted by greatgefilte at 6:39 PM on March 12, 2010

You may already be aware of this one, but HighWire Press at Stanford has alerting options that meet some, not all, of your needs. It covers all abstracts from PubMed, plus the full text of articles from more than a thousand journals. It is email based, though, and it doesn't let you tailor your queries separately for each journal.
posted by fermata at 6:48 PM on March 12, 2010

I've used PubCrawler for this purpose; you can put in your search parameters (eg, journal, authors, etc.) and have multiple searches that you name and label, similar to the demo here.

(Fuzzy memory here, you will need to check this out). In the past, I've set it up so that it emailed me with new findings and I logged onto the pubcrawler website to pick up the astract and reference info.
posted by Wolfster at 6:57 PM on March 12, 2010

Not exactly what you're looking for, but I now subscribe to all my common journals in Google Reader.

posted by k8t at 7:24 PM on March 12, 2010

a) Yes, absolutely use a feed reader like google reader. In 2 minutes every day, you can keep up with a few dozen journals without a problem. If you really want to get fancy, run the RSS feeds through a yahoo pipe to filter for specific keywords.

b) If you bookmark what you're reading in CiteULike, it'll recommend papers that you might like. It will also show you people who have bookmarked many of the same papers, which can be a treasure trove of great stuff.

c) Find a good peer group of people working on similar topics. I get some great leads from the Life Scientists room on FriendFeed. I get even more from the feeds of specific users that I've met through the room. Again, it's a system where investing 5 minutes every day or so pays off in the long run.
posted by chrisamiller at 7:51 PM on March 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

As mentioned above, PubMed does this and has been for ages, long before google alerts existed. You can even set up RSS feeds.

If you aren't in the biology/med field pubmed can be a bit crap though. If your institution has access, try webofscience as it has a larger range of non-medical stuff. Failing this, ask your librarian, this type of stuff is their job.
posted by scodger at 11:28 PM on March 12, 2010 narrowed to your interests then viewed via google reader will move you from jet age to space age. Read more in less time, so much that you can add more to read.
posted by eccnineten at 4:14 AM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

chrisamiller: "a) Yes, absolutely use a feed reader like google reader. In 2 minutes every day, you can keep up with a few dozen journals without a problem. If you really want to get fancy, run the RSS feeds through a yahoo pipe to filter for specific keywords."

You can even create a feed from any search URL and subscribe to it in Reader so that you are alerted to any changes.
posted by turkeyphant at 6:09 AM on March 13, 2010

Google includes Google Scholar results in the main search, so I'm pretty sure if you make an ordinary Google Alert, you'll get this.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:33 AM on March 13, 2010

Ditto scodger. Web of Science (if you have access) will let you save searches and then it will email you when something new shows up in their database that would appear in the search.
posted by unknowncommand at 10:25 AM on March 13, 2010

Oh sorry, they do RSS too, not just email.
posted by unknowncommand at 10:29 AM on March 13, 2010

Thanks for all the good suggestions everyone. I'll need more time to thouroughly try all the possibilities.

Just some thoughts: I guess I wrote off PubMed because I am not in the Bio/Medical field, but after looking over the list of journals it indexes, it is pretty comprehensive.

However, what gubenuj says about time delay between publication and entry into the database is worrisome. One of the key reasons I want alerts is so I know if something of interest has just been published or even if a preprint has been posted to something like aXriv.

Also, a lot of journals now are offering advanced online publications, which show up online a good month before the actual true publication date. Keeping abreast of these is also a goal.
posted by toftflin at 1:14 PM on March 13, 2010

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