Sciencescape: A New Tool For Accelerated Efficient Research

Image from Sciencescape

Image from Sciencescape

When my father was a young professional working for a German company designing solar panels, they used to have team meetings almost every day to discuss the progression of the research. Every day, the secretary would be the first one to arrive to scour new articles published in engineering journals in order to keep the team fully updated. He would then type up his findings and make several copies for the attendees to discuss during the meeting.

Now imagine how easier this job would have been if, say, there was a Twitter-like platform where he could log onto from the comfort of his home; check his feed on current literature; receive notifications as soon as a paper gets published; organize the literature in a virtual library; and be able to digitally share this library with the team instead of printing copies. He would be able to cash in quite a few more hours of sleep! But sleeping aside, imagine if you could have a Twitter-like platform being updated 24/7 and notifying you of all the breakthroughs in literature the second they come out. Imagine having not to miss out on reading a recent paper that might greatly improve your research or that might discuss the same experiments you are working on, giving you hints on what works or not so you can change your course accordingly without losing time. Suddenly, being scooped doesn’t feel like the approach of the apocalypse, but a minor setback in the course of your graduate studies.

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Must-have Research Software

http://stacienaczelnik.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Organize-Research-Papers

Photo credit: hubpages.com

I have decided to start my blog series with a helpful post, diving right into tips & tricks of doing research. This week’s topic: software that every graduate student should have. A research management software. To my surprise, very few graduate students use any kind of software to keep track of references for their papers/theses. A well organized library of papers, books and presentations is an absolute must-have! I don’t remember how life (aka research) was before I used research management software. And yes, I’m both young enough to not know the good ol’ days of having piles of photocopied articles on a desk, and so old that I’m forced to use sentences such as “I don’t remember how life was before …” For those of you that don’t have research management software and just have endless folders/files that you have to repeatedly go through when you need to collect references, this is an article for you.

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