Literature review is a crucial aspect of scientific work, with every single published research paper requiring one as part of the Introduction. Still, keeping up with the rapidly growing body of literature can be a daunting and time consuming task, and difficult to integrate into the everyday routine for many researchers. Being not an urgent, deadline-driven kind of activity, regular literature review often lands on the bottom of to-do lists.
However, with more than 2 million research papers published each year, how are you supposed to efficiently stay on top of this?
This is especially the case in the era of digital publishing when the power of established, high impact factor journal brands is becoming less important compared to article-level metrics and individual assessments. In this dynamically changing environment of scientific communication, keeping an open mind and providing critical evaluation of the literature have never been more important.
Consequently, signing up to individual RSS feeds or browsing through the contents of each of the key journals of your field of research is simply not an efficient way to keep yourself up to date.
At ScienceOpen, we offer powerful solutions for staying on top of recently published articles. By following the 3 steps below, you can easily integrate an effective literature review and discovery routine into your research life.
In line with the recent beetle boom on ScienceOpen, a researcher led collection on Coleoptera has been created on ScienceOpen. In the following interview founder and editor of the collection, Rolf Georg Beutel (Professor of Zoology at the Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie, Jena) will share a little background and gives us an insight on how it works in practice, how such thematic collections serve research communities. And of course, he will also reveal why beetles are cool.
Hi Rolf, thank you for joining. Can you first tell us a bit about your research background, and how you originally got interested in Entomology? Why did you choose to study Coleoptera?
I must admit that in contrast to many other entomologists I was not interested in insects at all as a child or later as a student of Zoology at the University of Tübingen. I was clearly inspired by an eccentric but outstanding academic teacher, Dr. G. Mickoleit, who suggested I should investigate the head and mouthparts of a very small and very cryptic beetle larva. Even though I had a hard time with my first objects of study, I obviously got hooked and continued studying beetles and other insects for the rest of my scientific career.
Why did you decide to build a ScienceOpen Collection on Coleoptera?
Dr. Stephanie Dawson, whom I have known for more than 10 years, mainly in the context of the Handbook of Zoology series, suggested to me to establish this ScienceOpen collection on beetles. My positive previous experience with her expertise and also with ScienceOpen was confirmed by the impressively efficient process of building and presenting this collection.
Coleoptera is one of the first automatically synchronized collections on ScienceOpen. What were the main principles of building the collection and how it develops?
Coleoptera is an immensely diverse and popular group. The intention was to go beyond the traditional fields of taxonomy and morphology, even though these have certainly their merits and are still very important in different contexts. The established data base will continuously grow and extend, integrating an ever increasing number of open access studies.
Do you have favourite pieces or lines of research in the collection that you find especially relevant to this field?
Primarily I consider myself as a systematist, and therefore I am interested in articles on phylogeny and classification in the first place. Even though many publications in these fields are older and not available as electronic files (or not covered by open access), the new collection already provides an impressive number of relevant studies and will grow with an accelerated rate in the future.
As an evolutionary biologist dealing with beetles among other groups of insects, I appreciate that the data base covers multiple lines of research, as for instance genetics or physiology. This has the potential for reciprocal stimulation of researchers of Coleoptera, beyond the basic disciplines like systematics and taxonomy. These are indispensable tools in biodiversity research and provide an essential reference system for studies in other fields. Connected with topics like for instance the physiological and genetic backgrounds of feeding habits or reproductive biology, evolutionary biology of Coleoptera is getting really exciting. The very rapidly growing molecular data in the “age on phylogenomics” open fascinating perspectives in the investigation of beetles and other organisms.
In which ways your research community benefits from the collection?
The easy accessibility of open access articles on beetles is an obvious advantage of this collection.
Finally, tell us about what is the coolest thing in studying entomology?
Beetles are often very beautiful insects and have attracted attention very early, for instance as religious symbol (Scarabaeus sacer) or material for jewellery, or also simply as food source. Among amateur collectors, who made valuable contributions over the last centuries, only butterflies enjoy a comparable popularity. Talking about what is cool about Coleoptera, it is hard to avoid a statement made by the geneticist and evolutionary biologist J.B.S. Haldane, who allegedly said that God had an “inordinate fondness of beetles”. This mainly refers to the incredible diversity of the group, which presently comprises approximately 380.000 described species, about one-third of all known organisms. The question why Coleoptera was much more successful (in terms of species numbers) than other groups is an intriguing question in itself for evolutionary biologists. Aside from this, beetles are an integrative part of nearly all terrestrial and limnic habitats. Many species are important plant pests but others beneficial as natural enemies of harmful species. What fascinates me most is that after centuries of research crucial phylogenetic issues are still unsolved, like for instance the interrelationships of the 4 extant suborders (“it is the glory of God to conceal things….”). Presently exponentially growing molecular data sets and improved analytical approaches (www.1KITE.org) provide new powerful tools to resolve these issues. This is definitely “cool” and exciting!
Thank you, Rolf, it’s been great getting your insight!
We’ve had some amazing new publications recently here at ScienceOpen, and with many more in the pipeline too! For us, every paper we publish is special, and we like to highlight the effort put into them by our authors as much as possible. One of our newest addition is from the field of molecular biology and genomics, a huge and rapidly advancing research domain.
Many of you are probably aware of this, but as well as our main aggregation/open peer review functions, we also totally publish! We’re an Open Access publisher, and employ innovative methods of peer review around this.
We just wanted to draw your attention to some great new research that we’ve recently had the pleasure of publishing!
Search engines form the core of discovery of research these days. There’s just too much information out there to search journal by journal or on a manual basis.
We highlighted in a previous post the advantages of using ScienceOpen’s dual-layered search and filter functions over others like Google Scholar. Today, we’re happy to announce that we just made it even better!
Say you want to search all of PeerJ’s content. Pop ‘PeerJ’ into the journal search, and it’ll come up with all their content, as it’s all indexed in PubMed. Hey presto, there you have 1530 papers, all with full texts attached. Neat eh! And that will update as more gets published with PeerJ, so you know what to do.
But that’s a lot of content. What you’ve just discovered is the PeerJ megajournal haystack. We want to filter out the needles.
Student evaluations in teaching form a core part of our education system. However, there is little evidence to demonstrate that they are effective, or even work as they’re supposed to. This is despite such rating systems being used, studied and debated for almost a century.
A new analysis published in ScienceOpen Research offers evidence against the reliability of student evaluations in teaching, particularly as a measure of teaching effectiveness and for tenure or promotion decisions. In addition, the new study identified a bias against female instructors.
The new study by Anne Boring, Kellie Ottoboni, and Philip Stark (ScienceOpen Board Member) has already been picked up by several major news outlets including Inside Higher Education and Pacific Standard. This gives it an altmetric score of 54 (at the time of writing), which is the highest for any ScienceOpen Research paper to date!