11 March 2019
Discover the latest research findings before they’re published
How can you bridge the knowledge gap between project completion and publication?
While conducting a literature review is essential for providing background on the topic that you are interested in, there is a time lag (months or even years) between researchers finishing a project, writing up the findings, submitting it for publication, going through the peer review process, and the article then becoming available in the public arena (i.e. being listed on PubMed or in the CANTAB Bibliography).
So by relying on a literature review alone, there may still be gaps in your knowledge of the current state of the research. Read on to discover how can this gap can be overcome:
- Speak with colleagues in your department about their own research and whether they are aware of research being carried out in your area, even if it is not yet published.
- Contact the lead researchers in your field of interest (email is preferable) to request copies of their recent research and ask if they have any more recent findings that have not yet been published; they may be willing to describe some of their findings or even send you, in confidence, a copy of papers that are accepted for publication but not yet available to the public domain.
- If you are considering conducting a clinical trial, search on the US National Institutes of Health Clinical Trials Database – this is free to access, and many planned, on-going and completed clinical trials are listed here. It also provides names of researchers conducting the trials: https://clinicaltrials.gov/
- Register and attend conferences related to your area of interest. If you are a student or young researcher, there are often discounted registration fees. Some institutions/universities provide study budgets to cover the costs of attending conferences (check with your department). Many conferences have prizes available for people who submit a poster or abstract. While at conferences, visit the posters and talks relevant to your topic of interest; try to catch up with experts in the area, to introduce yourself and find out more about their research.
- Search on your topic of interest using a non-scientific search engine i.e. Google. You may find information about research that is not yet published, for example, some researchers issue press releases about their study protocol and progress. As a caveat, remember that information identified through a search engine can be written by anyone, while those on a scientific database are likely to have been peer-reviewed.
- Sign up to ResearchGate and connect with researchers. As a social networking platform for scientists and researchers, ResearchGate is another great place to gain access to papers published by researchers in your area.