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Following New Journal Articles Online As They Are Released

2011 October 19

If you want to stay current with your research area, you need to read new journal articles as they come out.  In the past, this was much more difficult; you needed to subscribe to journals and have them delivered to your office or home, or trudge over to your university library.  Archaic!

These days, you can often be notified of and read new journal articles as they are placed in press.  This puts you at the very forefront of new research; you can read articles after peer review, the moment they are made available to the public, often pre-publication.  To do this, you need only two things:

  1. A news reader (sometimes called a news aggregator) that processes RSS feeds
  2. Each journal’s RSS feed

RSS stands for Really Simply Syndication.  This is a technique used by many websites (not just journals) to provide plain, unformatted, transportable content to anyone that might want it, which is packaged as an RSS feed.  For example, this site’s RSS feed is http://neoacademic.com/feed, which is also linked on the top right of this page.  It contains the content of all the articles I post here, as they are released, and nothing more.

That way, if you have an RSS feed reader, you can go to a single website (or run a single program) and view the RSS feeds from all of your favorite websites (and journals!) in one place.  This eliminates the need to visit a large different number of websites each day and hunt for new content.  The news reader remembers what you’ve already read; all you see is new content.

So to enjoy the wide world of journal RSS feeds, you need an RSS feeder – and there are many to choose from.  To start, I suggest Google Reader, which is free and quite easy to use.  If you already have a Google account (and who doesn’t?), just click on that link to see your very own Google Reader.  The first time you use it, it will be a bit empty.  That’s because you need to fill it up with RSS feeds.  I suggest starting with this one.  If you’re using a modern web browser, adding RSS feeds is very easy – just click on the link to a feed and follow the prompts.

Once you get comfortable with RSS, you should think about the easiest way to get your RSS content.  Do you want to stick with the cloud (i.e. Google) or use a standalone program where you can more easily save your favorite RSS entries for later?  If you already use an e-mail management program, like Outlook, there are often RSS readers built-in so that you can read your RSS with your e-mail.  If not, there are plenty of other options.

Finding RSS feeds can be quite easy (just look for the little orange RSS symbol, like the one on this page) or quite difficult (involving hunting through many layers of badly formatted publishers’ web pages).  A well-crafted Google search is, as always, the best solution.  Simply search Google for “JournalName rss” and you are likely to find what you’re looking for – at least, as long as the journal publisher has decided to release an RSS feed.

Here are a couple of lists of RSS feeds to get you started (thanks to Jeremy Anglim for providing me a starting point for the I/O list):

Related to I/O Psychology

You can also subscribe to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s blog’s RSS feeds.

Related to Psychology, Games, Technology, and Education

And finally, consider subscribing to a few I/O Psychology blogs!

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