How to keep up to date with a subject

Keeping up with research in your area will allow you to:

  • Stay abreast of the most recent developments
  • Spot new opportunities
  • Monitor the activities of others

Keeping up with journals using databases

Many databases allow you to Save searches to re-run later or run automatically (often known as Alerts) at regular intervals or every time they are updated. Databases offering this facility include:

  • Web of Science - as well as Saved Searches and Alerts, this database allows you to set up 'Citation Alerts' so you are alerted by email to references that cite a paper you are interested in.
  • Sociological Abstracts
  • ZETOC –  the British Library’s Electronic Table of Contents provides a 'zetoc Alert' service for current journals which will email you the tables of contents of your chosen journals when new issues are added to the database
  • Library Search - our own Library Search system allows you to save searches and set up automatic alerts on these to obtain details of new journal articles, books, ebooks and other items.  See the the Using your previous searches, queries, alerts, and RSS feeds section of the Library Search help for details.

Use our Databases page to find and link to these databases. To find whether a particular database offers any of these options, check the help on the database.   Also available via our Databases page, Journal Citation Reports  (JCR)  is a tool for evaluating and comparing journals, making it possible for you to find the most influential journals in your subject using measures such as impact factors. 

Keeping up with journals using publishers' websites, etc

Some publishers also provide alerting services.  They will send email notification every time a new journal issue is published.  Most publishers will ask you to register for this service.   Publishers with free alerting services include:

Alternatively, there is a service covering a large number of publishers:

  • JournalTOCs - a free scholarly journal tables of contents (TOCs) service, providing access (by email or RSS feed) to the most recent tables of contents of thousands of scholarly journals from hundreds of publishers.

Keeping up with the Internet

  • - a service that enables you to automatically collect new information from your favourite pages on the Internet. You select which pages to monitor, and WatchThatPage will find which pages have changed, and collect all the new content for you
  • - an alerting service for changes to your favourite websites
  • Giga Alert - a professional service not to be confused with the search engine.
  • Google Alerts - an alerting service for the search engine offering results for News, Web, Blogs, Videos and Groups.  Automatic emails are sent when there are new results for your search terms

Web 2.0

This is the collective term used to describe a range of social networking services available on the internet.  They can be a useful source of information and may help you to keep up to date with your subject area.

  • Citeulike - can help you organise and share the academic papers you are reading
  • delicious - a bookmarking website that enables you to store your bookmarks online.  You can create a shared account that allows everyone to see and add websites relevant to your research

Other services

  • Book alerts
    Many publishers provide an alerting service for their new publications. You will need to check publisher’s websites for further details.
  • Email discussion lists - the UK's national academic mailing list service
  • Research funding alerts
    Research Professional is available to staff and students of the University.  See the Research Professional page on the RED website for advice on using Research Professional including accessing it off-campus.

Please note: There are many other services and resources available to help you keep up to date and many are subject specific.  If you would like to know more about what is available in your particular subject area then contact your Subject Librarian.