Trust your network- 2 mins
Is keeping up with science the same as keeping up with scientific literature? If yes, is that even possible with many potentially interesting journals and so many publications per day? We are in the point in history where more researchers are alive, and more publications go unread. Keeping up with the scientific literature it is indeed a harmful myth, it is not achievable and probably not desirable either.
Earlier people went to read journal issues in the library, when I was writing my bachelor thesis I even went to the library to find some old journal issues not available online. It was not a very enjoyable activity, I have never missed that experience, specially taken into consideration that I have been always scared of getting trapped between those movable shelves (am I the only one with this fear?). Now we can read all the articles on a computer click, well if you work in an institution that pay a lot of money for you to read articles that you write (my litle brother still does not understand this busines model).
To me keeping up with science means to have my own “knowledge VIP” list.
I have never tried to read a complete issue of any journal, I only follow the table of contents of Nature and Science in an attempt to see scientific trends overall (not just in my research area). What I do is to search for what I am interested in and trust my networks to find things outside and inside my scientific box. To me keeping up with science means to have my own “knowledge VIP” , these are my knowledge community. Of course, these people have no idea that they made it to my VIP list (and probably they would not care less) but I used them to get the good stuff. These people have entered my list in several ways and for different reasons. The first people that entered this list were mainly people that have written books and important papers on my field. Then I started my social academic journey and people that I met in conferences, research visits, workplace colleagues etc. became important members of this list (they also happen to be nice people and awesome researchers, lucky me!). Most of them do research related to forestry but navigating through my twitter account I have noticed that I do follow several statisticians, microbiologists, astronomers and people from social sciences. I like to know what they are up to, to who they are citing, what are they recommending and what they value.
I do keep up with science by trusting my network, and you?