Embroidered picture

CC-BY Image courtesy of Flickr user Hey Paul Studios

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the USA, a time to be thankful for, well, just about anything. It is my favorite of all the major holidays because it involves mostly food and not a lot of stuff (gifts, decorations, etc.)

Here is my list of the science information things that I am thankful for this year:

  1. Open peer review from journals like PeerJ and F1000Research - The reviews accessible in these journals provide a great learning opportunity as we teach students what peer review is, why it's a good thing, and how it could be better.
  2. Easy management of all the journal articles I download (and occasionally read) with Mendeley - If it weren't for Mendeley, I would have scores of PDFs on my computer with a file name of just 6 numbers: the articles I get from interlibrary loan. Instead, I have (mostly) organized lists of papers related to various projects with human readable file names.

    My Mendeley Desktop

    My Mendeley Desktop

  3. New data about when and where researchers encounter paywalls via the Open Access Button - An exciting development in the open access movement allowing folks to see that researchers don't have all the access they need to scientific journal articles.
  4. Open access repositories of all kinds: disciplinary things like PubMedCentral and the arxiv and institutional repositories from universities and organizations - Because my library doesn't have a Harvard-like budget for materials and these repositories provide some instant gratification.
  5. Search alerts - Via email or RSS, I have search alerts for particular topics ("peer review") and for new articles or issues of journals I try to keep up with. The alerts mean I don't have to remember to go looking.
  6. Fake biology journal articles about superheroes - Because I love satire, especially when it includes things I love: science and information sources.
  7. Filters in databases - Google scholar is great, but once you have a set of results, you can't do much with it. I love databases that let me filter for specific keywords that I never would have thought of, remove review articles that won't fit the needs of my students or change the order of my search results so I can see the most recent articles or the most cited articles at the top of the list.

    Filtering in the database Scopus

  8. Webcomics like PhD Comics, Unshelved, and xkcd - Because you definitely have to laugh, and geeky academic humor is delightful.

    Web comic xkcd

    Web comic xkcd

  9. DOIs - Yes, I am thankful for strings of letters and numbers starting with "10," because they make my life easier and save a lot of time typing in journal article titles.
  10. My fellow librarians - Whether at my institution or across the world, I have never met a friendlier, more helpful group of people and I am blessed to have such wonderful colleagues.

What science information related things are you thankful for this year?