Seriously.I'm trying to keep up with a number of very broad and diverse fields. For example, as a textbook author, I need to keep abreast of just about everything that might be covered in an introductory biochemistry course. I'm also trying to keep informed about evolutionary biology; especially molecular evolution because I teach a course on that topic and I blog about it. I don't want to miss exciting developments in pedagogy (teaching) and the philosophy of science. Finally, I like to be up-to-date on the latest advances in other disciplines.
It is your job as a scientist to read the literature, keep abreast of findings of interest and integrate this knowledge with your own work.
We have amazing tools for doing so that were not available in times past, everything gets fantastically better all the time.
If you are a PI you even have minions to help you! And colleagues! And manuscripts and grants to review which catch you up.
So I ask you, people who spout off about the "filter" problem.....
What IS the nature of this problem? How does it affect your working day?
Here's the problem. There's a lot of junk out there. It's a waste of time to scan all of the science journals that might possibly have something of interest to me and it's a waste of time to get any "tools" to do it for me. Most of the time I wouldn't even know what to ask for. For example, I don't want to see all the papers on photosynthesis but I need to see the one that's going to change my textbook. I don't want to see all the papers on mutation rates but I do want to see the ones that are worth blogging about.
There were times when I could sit down for a few hours every week and scan the tables of contents of the leading journals in my field. Those days are long gone and my "field" has expanded enormously. I need to filter but I'm pretty sure I'm missing some important papers. In fact, I know this because just about every month I hear from others about things that I've missed months, or even years, ago.
I have a filter problem. I'm filtering out some important things and reading far too much junk. My filter problem can't be solved. If it wasn't for blogs, I'd be in bigger trouble.
We're in the middle of a discussion about the function wars. It's obvious to me that members of the ENCODE Consortium also have a filter problem. They've filtered out all kinds of information about the organization of the human genome. They don't understand the evidence for junk DNA, for example, and they don't have a good grasp of evolution. On the other hand, they've probably read every recent paper on the methodology of RNA-Seq, ChIP, and data analysis algorithms.
I'm glad that drugmonkey doesn't have a filter problem. Or, should I say, I'm glad that he THINKS he doesn't have a filter problem. It must be comforting to believe that he's keeping abreast of everything relating to his interests. I've never felt like that.