Pedro Beltrao at the Public Rambling blog says there never seems to be enough time to keep up with all the literature researchers keep churning out. In 2009, 848,865 papers were added to PubMed, he says — that's something like 1.6 papers per minute. While there's definitely no scarcity of outlets to publish, is anyone even paying attention? "It is very literally impossible to keep up with the current literature without some sophisticated filtering system," Beltrao says. "With all of the imperfections of our current System of editorial control, subjective peer review, subjective impact evaluations, impact factors and so on, we must agree that we need a lot of help filtering through these many articles." Some argue that each individual researcher should be able to filter through the masses of literature to judge what is best for them to read, he adds, and while that's fine for the research in the narrow focus of his own research, what about the papers that describe new methods or data that may be of interest, but technically outside that narrow focus? Maybe the journals themselves can help with that. "I would pay for tools that would recommend me papers to read," Beltrao says. "In my mind, this is where publishers of today should be making their money, in tools that connect the readers to what they want to read."
Too Much to Read
Jul 21, 2010