This three part series covers the problem of finding scientific articles, compares results from a few different methods, and presents instructions for the best method. A day in the life of an English physician In April, I had the great fortune to attend (and speak at) a conference on scientific publishing sponsored by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers. One of the first speakers was an English physician who described his trials and a typical ordeal in trying to use the medical literature. ... Read more
Evolution! Wow! A jolt of electricity went down my spine. I feel like Harry Potter saying "Voldemort." Apparently, in biomedical journals, drug resistance and other phenomena can "emerge," "arise," or "spread." It can "appear", "develop", "become common", or "be acquired." As long as you don't say it "evolves." A group of researchers, at the University of Virginia, discovered that authors who were studying evolution and publishing in biomedical journals were reluctant to use the word (1). They ... Read more
I found it in the MeSH database. Really! Looking for a quick answer? Don't ask a scientist It doesn't take long to realize that scientists can spend countless hours debating the meaning of words. Our very own ScienceBlogs is a great example, just look at the many ways we can define (and debate) the meaning of a small, four-letter word like "gene". We also like to qualify our answers with a thousand conditions "usually, it's like this, but...." This ... Read more
In last week's episode, your assignment was to think of an interesting plant trait and find a description about a gene, related to that trait, by searching PubMed. Since coming up with an interesting trait might be a challenge for some people, let's think about how to approach this step. Picking your trait. ... Read more
Many of you might take this for granted, and I know it seems amazing today, but I when first started teaching, our access to scientific literature was pretty limited. I could go to the UW and use Grateful Med to search Medline, but we didn't have anything like it at my college and web browsers, like Mosaic, had yet to be invented. So, when I first started giving workshops for teachers on biotechnology and the world of the web, many were quite surprised to find out about the PubMed database. Since PubMed is (to me) one of the best resources to ever come along, I think we ... Read more

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