suggested reading

I found an old Google doc that my lab mates and I assembled after a long discussion a few years ago about the importance of staying current. (It was obvious at the time that several lab members hadn’t been, shall we say, voracious consumers of scientific literature.) We brainstormed a list of “important publications” and a recommended time table for individuals to visit these journals:

Make yourself read and understand at least one article per issue (published weekly):
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)

Try to read and understand one article per issue:
Systematic Biology (bi-monthly)
PLoS ONE (published daily, read one article per month)
Evolution (monthly)
Scientific Reports

Worth browsing titles monthly for articles of interest (you will undoubtedly end up reading at least one article!):
Biology Letters
BMC Biology
BMC Evolutionary Biology
Current Biology
Journal of Morphology
Journal of Hymenoptera Research
Molecular Biology and Evolution
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
PLoS Biology
Systematic Entomology
Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Worth browsing every 4-8 months (you will undoubtedly end up reading at least one article!):
Acta Zoologica
Arthropod Structure and Development
Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny
Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society
BMC Bioinformatics
Collection Forum
Evolution and Development
Frontiers in Zoology
Insect Molecular Biology
Invertebrate Systematics
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Journal of Natural History
Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research
Molecular Ecology
Molecular Ecology Resources
Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington
Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences B
Zoologica Scripta
Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society

Worth browsing annually:
Annual Review of Entomology (published in January)
Annual Review of Ecology and Evolution (published in January)

Seems pretty ambitious when I look at the list now. By my calculations this proposal requires one to read 36 or so articles every month—more than one article a day. I’m also not convinced your average student is going to find useful articles in each of these journals. Collection Forum, for example is a great journal for curators, but does a student need to be dissecting the fine details of collection management workflows? How to recycle alcohol? Maybe.

Now that I think of it … I almost want to grow this list—adding PeerJ, for example, after it gets cranking, or maybe even nontraditional resources, like figshare—but subdivide the reading responsibilities. Assign each lab member a set of journals that s/he is responsible for synthesizing in lab meeting. Divide and conquer.

How do you make sure you stay current? How would you alter this list or the proposed strategy? I’d love some feedback!