Alerts and new information

Many databases offer a possibility for an automatic checking of new publications of a given topic that are saved in the database. This functionality is called alert(ing).


A notification sent by a database according to a stored procedure, like a search query.

You can also set an alert to inform you when ever a new issue of a certain journal is published. This is called TOC service, meaning that the table of contents of a journal is sent to you by email.

TOC – table of contents

An alert sending a table of contents of a new issue of a journal when it is published.

How to set an alert or TOC

Read from UEF Library blog, how to set an alert on different databases or journal publisher’s pages: Pysy ajan tasalla! Uutuusseuranta auttaa / Stay up-to-date! Alerts and TOCs at your service.

Give some consideration to what kind of a search query you use for an alert: if the topic is a burning issue, like COVID-19, and there are likely to be a lot new articles published in the near future, the query can be detailed (containing several AND-operations and filters for instance).

On the contrary, if the topic is “rare”, i.e. there probably will not be many articles published even within a year, the query can be less limiting. For instance, if the topic is ‘female characters in Toni Morrison’s books’, it might be interesting just to know whenever anything about Toni Morrison’s works is published.

Other channels to new information

A quick way to the latest publications are open access repositories for preprints. There are several discipline specific repositories, “arxiv”s, available. The original, which was published as early as over 30 years ago, was about physics and mathematics.

See a list of preprint repositories from Wikipedia. The OSF Preprints search engine searches across several (not all) repositories simultaneously.

Always keep in mind, that preprints published in these repositories are not peer-reviewed!

Social media for researchers

Network of colleagues is a very good way to keep up to date. Platforms like ResearchGate and are sites where you can search and follow interesting scholars or research groups and their work and publications.

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