Reading papers – single or several?

I’ve just been catching up on three weeks of BIT Alert emails (3 new volumes and four new paper online alerts) which I haven’t been able to deal with due to other priorities. I’ve found it hard work to deal with the whole volumes – particularly those which include several papers I’m interested in and need to read and digest; and which had been received prior to  me getting Alerts. My rather obvious conclusion is that I would far rather receive the Alerts prior to publication so that dealing with a whole volume is essentially just a checking affair to match up the papers with what I had already dealt with via the Alerts. Having said that if there are several papers that I’m interested in in a single Alert the effect is just the same – its hard work going through several papers in a single session. As with most things, its easier to do things as they occur rather than dealing with a backlog. So I would prefer an Alert to be about a single paper and for it to be sent out immediately it is available for issue, rather than accumulating a number of papers for inclusion in a single Alert message. Having said that there are probably some people who would prefer to work the other way. Perhaps users should be given the option to choose their preferred way of working.

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