Keeping Current

It is crucial to keep up to date with current developments in your field of research. This may be achieved by setting up alert services and RSS feeds with relevant journals and databases, attending conferences, subscribing to blogs, and joining discussion lists.

Many databases and journal publishers provide free services designed to keep you up–to-date with current academic literature published in your field. The service requires you to register your search profile so that whenever an article is published that matches your profile you receive a notification.

For more information, set up a consultation with your School Librarian via WesternNow.

From publishers:

RSS feeds

RSS feeds provide instant notification and links to new content appearing in selected websites or blogs via an RSS reader.

RSS feeds may be available for sites and blogs that regularly update their content, such as the Western Sydney University Library, news services, and blogs.

An RSS Reader is required to subscribe to an RSS feed. Comprehensive information about RSS Readers and how to subscribe to RSS feeds is available from the Library's RSS FAQ.

Tables of content alerts

Tables of content (TOC) alerts are available in numerous databases and from publishers. Follow the database's instructions to create a TOC alert. You may be asked to log in/register or create a profile to complete the alert process.

  • JournalsTOCs is an alert service where you can discover the latest articles directly from publishers once they have been published online. A free service for individual users, researchers, librarians, students and anyone who's looking for the latest or most current papers published in the scholarly literature with international coverage.
  • Wiley Online Library: e-Alerts allows you to receive the tables of content (e-TOC) for selected journals, published by Wiley, whenever a new issue is published, including receipt of Early View and Accepted Article alerts. Log in and click on Access Options to Manage Your Account and your content alerts.

Have a look at your favourite journal and see whether they offer this service.

Citation alerts

Citation alerts notify you when a document or author has been cited.

Some online tutorials:

Saved search alerts

Most databases require you to register for free to create a profile in order and create an alert.

Look for the help section in each database and follow the instructions to set up an alert on your saved search. Visit the list of databases at Western Sydney University to select the ones relevant to your area of research. You may also set up a saved search alert across all the Library's collections, which is saved in My Library.

Some online tutorials:

New publication alerts

Some publishers offer free recommendation and notification services when new items are added to their catalogues. By registering with them you will be emailed when new items in your area of interest are published.

Selected examples:

  • Cambridge E-Alerts: You can subscribe to receive email notifications of new book publications. Select one or more subject areas.
  • CSIRO Publishing: You can subscribe to receive email notifications of new publications. Select books by subject area. Select journals and magazines by individual title.
  • Harvard University Press mailing list: You can subscribe to receive email and/or print notifications of new book publications. Select one or more subject areas.
  • Springer New Book Alert: You can subscribe to receive email notifications of publications. Browse by subject for books. Browse by subject or individual titles for journals.
  • Wiley books (Researchers): You can subscribe to receive email alerts for publications. Select from a range of products, e.g. Cochrane Library or Online Books.

Other online options:

Discussion lists

You can communicate with your colleagues via discussion boards, discussion lists, forums, bulletin boards and newsgroups. These services function like a public forum, providing a place to exchange ideas; to share research and problem solving; and for recreation.

There are three main types of discussion lists:

  • Open list: These are open to anyone; messages are forwarded automatically without any human intervention.
  • Moderated list: Messages are filtered through a human moderator who screens and edits messages to be sure they are appropriate and on-topic.
  • Closed list: These may involve membership of a professional body or enrolment/employment at a given institution. You will be notified if you are not eligible to join a specific list.

Some major directories of discussion lists are:

  • CataList – Browse any of the 53,881 LISTSERV public lists or search for mailing lists of interest. 
    National Academic Mailing List Service – Known as 'JISCMail', this is a service designed specifically for further education, higher education and research communities. It is one of a number of services provided by JISC Advance.
  • Google Groups – This is the entire archive of Usenet discussion groups dating back to 1981, covering the full range of human discourse. Observe the evolution of viewpoints, debate and advice on every subject from politics to technology. 
    Yahoo! Groups – Find thousands of groups ranging from personal communication groups to scientific groups.


Podcasts can be a supplementary way to keep up-to-date. Details of new podcasts can be sent via RSS feed, iTunes, a podcast app, or an app for the specific organisation.

Podcasts on academic life:

Discipline-specific podcasts:

Making your own academic podcasts:

Web alerts

You can be notified of new or changed web pages just as you can for journal articles and books.

  • Google alerts: Set up a Saved Search Alert using the keywords of your choice and have the latest relevant Google results emailed to you.
  • Google Scholar: Open the menu at the top left of the screen to go to Alerts to create an account. Once you have an account you can set up Saved Search Alerts. Look for the Create Alert button on the search results screen.
  • Scout Report: This is a weekly report offering a selection of new and recently discovered Internet resources of interest to researchers and educators.

Social media

Use Twitter to share your research, engage via top academic and PhD influencer accounts, search for hashtags on specific topics, and explore popularity, correlations, trends and much more.

Following are some of the more popular scholarly research #topics and @accounts:



@AcademicChatter (>163K Followers)

@PhDForum (>108K Followers)

@ThePhDStory (>35K Followers)

@PhDVoice (>34K Followers)

@PhD_Connect (>21K Followers)

Other ways to stay informed:

Research Services Update

The Research Services Update is a weekly update of research-related news for staff and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students at Western Sydney University. An archive of recent updates is provided, and current Western staff and HDR students can subscribe to future issues as well.


Attending conferences is a popular way of meeting colleagues researching in the same or related areas. The expansion of e-conferences (electronic or online conferences) has made this method of keeping up-to-date easier.

You can search for conferences online using conference as a keyword, in combination with your research area. Some search engines (like Yahoo!) have conference as a search limiter.

Notices of upcoming conferences are often in current issues of journals. There are also websites that list upcoming conferences.

General conference lists

Searching for research grants

  • Research Professional: A source of intelligence on funding opportunities and research policy. Covers all scholarly disciplines: from medicine to the humanities; from the largest research council to the smallest private charity; from big multicenter collaborative grants to small travel grants and consultancy.
  • GrantConnect is the Australian Government whole-of-government, centralised, web-based, grant information system. It provides a free, simple and effective service for all potential grant applicants to find and access Commonwealth grant opportunities and related grant documentation. All non-corporate Commonwealth entities, including the Australian Research Council (ARC) must publish on GrantConnect to meet the requirements under the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines (CGRGs).