I have been doing paper of the day (#potd) again in 2014. See my previous post about this.
My “rules” for paper of the day are:
- Read one paper each working day.
- If I am away, or reviewing a paper for a journal or colleague, then I get a pass.
- Read it sufficiently to be able to explain it to somebody else, i.e. don’t just scan the abstract and look at the figures. Really read it and understand it. Scan and skim as many other papers as you normally would!
- Only papers reporting primary research count. No reviews/opinion pieces etc.
- If it was really good or worth telling people about – tweet about it.
- Make a simple database in Excel – this helps you keep track, make notes about the paper (to see if you meet #3) and allows you to find the paper easily in the future (this last point turned out to be very useful).
This year has been difficult, especially sticking to #3. My stats for 2014 are:
- 73% success rate. Down from 85% in 2013
- Stats errors in 36% of papers I read!
- 86% of papers were from 2014
Following last year, I wasn’t so surprised by the journals that the papers appeared in:
- J Cell Biol
- Mol Biol Cell
- Dev Cell
- Nature Methods
- J Cell Sci
- J Neurosci
- Nature Cell Biol
- Curr Biol
- Nature Comm
According to my database I only read one paper in Cell this year. I certainly have lots of them in “Saved for later” in Feedly (which is a black hole from which papers rarely emerge to be read). It’s possible that the reason Cell, Nature and Science are low on the list is that I might quickly glance at papers in those journals but not actually read them for #potd. Last year eLife was at number 9 and this year it is at number 1. This journal is definitely publishing a lot of exciting cell biology and also the lens format is very nice for reading.
I think I’ll try to continue this in 2015. The main thing it has made me realise is how few papers I read (I mean really read). I wonder if students and postdocs are actually the main consumers of the literature. If this is correct, do PIs rely on “subsistence reading”, i.e. when they write their own papers and check the immediate literature? Is their deep reading done only during peer reviewing other people’s work? Or do PIs rely on a constant infusion of the latest science at seminars and at meetings?