A reader poll on reading

Sep 12 2012 Published by under [Education&Careers]

I've noticed recently, to my dismay, that my literature reading habits have changed rather substantially in the last 12-18 months. Rather than keeping up with the literature proactively, I'm trending towards reading mainly when I have to (writing a grant or paper) and not nearly as thoroughly as I once did. This is troubling to me on a couple of levels, but comes back to the balance of what takes up those hours in the day you spend working. Perhaps it's time to block out some hours to devote to reading...

11 responses so far

  • I answered 4-8 hours, but I guess that's an average between periods when I'm writing and will read more and periods when I'm mostly doing experiments. Also, I rarely ever read a paper from start to finish (but who does that anyway), so I also counted the time that I will scan through abstracts or read my pubcrawler email.

  • I read digests of working papers and collected abstracts sent by journals. Does that count?

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I read digests of working papers and collected abstracts sent by journals. Does that count?

    That's kinda where I'm at these days. A lot of abstract reading, with occasional figure viewing.

  • DJMH says:

    For me, regular journal reading was the primary victim of having a child. Limited hours and attention span at work means I can still get in my experiments and analysis (mostly), but I don't read a paper unless it is VERY directly related to my work, or I'm writing a grant or manuscript.

    And forget about trying to read in the evenings after the kid is in bed--my brain doesn't work.

  • MCA says:

    I skim through RSS feeds on Google Reader several times a day, but that only takes a few minutes. Fortunately, my field is very small, so the actual number of papers I have to read any week is quite small, and fewer still that are tightly related to my projects.

    Also, I find that a lot of the time, I've already seen the talk at the major conference in my field, so I can just pick through the paper for details and new stuff.

  • Bashir says:

    Honestly, I think I spend more time searching google scholar and reading abstracts than actual papers.

  • Dr24hours says:

    So little new stuff gets published in my field that I couldn't spend 4 hours a week if I tried.

  • curexcomplex says:

    I spend at least an hour a day reading papers, though I have nothing else to do, I've been trying to keep myself as up to date with everything I can in my field (T Cell Immunology) while searching for a PhD place/work in the hopes it will help me get ahead but alas no use. I don't know now I don't have to read papers for classes / own research I'm actually enjoying it without having the extra stress of having to learn the content I can enjoy the science for once.

  • phagenista says:

    Like others, I mostly do the RSS/eTOC thing, and send abstracts potentially related to our work liberally to members of my lab. I read for grants and papers, but I feel like the only time I /really/ read something with the same attention and scrutiny that I did as a postdoc is when I'm reviewing it for a journal.

  • [...] titles in my stable, but it's a trend I've been getting away from to a certain degree. With people tight for time to catch up on the literature, a title may be your only chance to pique the interest of a [...]

  • TSD says:

    My reading patterns started heading that way years ago. Even two years ago I was keeping up with 4-5 core journals, but now I read to write papers or proposals or when I see interesting references in something I stumble across. It is very discouraging!!

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