Remember the Masked Magician? The illusionist who gained fame by exposing magic secrets, which sparked controversy as many other magicians feared that their illusions were now worthless. He emphasized, however, that he felt revealing the secrets would encourage kids into trying magic instead of discouraging them, and that the entertainment of magic shows was more in the magician’s showmanship instead of the wonder of how the trick was pulled off.

Somewhat inspired by the above, I have decided to hereby disclose my personal tricks of the trade. In other words, the following are the top-three services I use to (appear to) be constantly up-to-date with the primary literature.

1. Organic Chemistry Portal: Highlights

The web design of is a little 1998-ish, but if you ask me this only adds to its charm. The Highlights section is a true gem. Those of you who have already seen it know what I am talking about. I check in here as often as I can. Totally recommend. If I could bookmark only one page in my browser, this would be my choice.

2. ACS Mobile: App for iPhone/iPad and Android

ACS Mobile
This app is awesome. It is not free, however, but worth every dollar—trust me. I wish someone paid me say this, but I am merely a happy end-user. (If someone from ACS reads this, a small gift as a token of your appreciation would be accepted, like a 60″ LCD flat screen or so, and I would even consider increasing the size of your banner!)

3. Twitter

If you are not on Twitter already, you are missing out. Here is a quick guide for getting premium chemistry alerts in real time at no cost at all: Sign up, then follow some of the top dogs such as @NatureNews, @NatureChemistry, @CENMag, @ScienceMagazine, @Chemjobber and so on, and just sit back and watch your timeline being populated with top stories. The #chemistry hashtag is also very useful (just type it in the search box) for finding new stories and other users. Finally, feel very free to follow @SyntheticRemark – I hear he is really good!

Other than the above, check out the blog roll in the right column of this page. In it are links to my favorite synthesis blogs.

What are your sources?


4 Responses to How to maintain the illusion of being up-to-date with the primary literature

  1. Mitch says:

    Don’t forget about ChemFeeds

  2. Ckellz says:

    I also like to use RSS feeds from my favorite journals, it lets me screen through them real fast and pick out the articles I want to read!

  3. tlp says:

    I’d prefer rss rather than twitter.

  4. Hans Emtenas says:

    Excellent Review!
    I just want to add Synfacts

    “In SYNFACTS current research results in synthetic organic chemistry, as they appear in the primary literature, are screened, selected, evaluated, summarized, and enriched with personal comments by experts in their fields.”

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