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Using RSS to Keep Up With Psychology

Sites with regularly updated content, such as journals, frequently offer newsfeeds of their content. These feeds permit subscription to regular updates, delivered automatically to you, transforming the way you work and stay current on the web.

Choosing a Feed Source

For any given journal, there are multiple ways to subscribe to the table of contents; the most common are from the publisher or from a database. There are advantages and disadvantages to every RSS source. When choosing, consider the following factors:

  • Is it available on AND off campus? Subscription-only databases are usually only available on campus. Workaround: If you use an online RSS reader, log into it when on campus and you will have access to those headlines off-campus.
  • Does it include an abstract?
  • Does it link to a full-text article? Some publisher feeds (most notably those from the APA) link to an abstract page lacking a link to the full-text that is not supported by any reference manager bookmarklets.
  • Does it include complete citation information?

Depending upon your needs, some compromises will be easier than others.

Journal of Ed. Psych.

Table of contents of the Journal of Educational Psychology.

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Psychology OPML File

Want to get started with RSS? Import this file into the RSS reader of your choice and you will be subscribed to a number of journals in one step. You can easily delete any journals that are not relevant to your research.

PubMed: Creating Customized Feeds

PubMed allows users to turn their PubMed search strategies into RSS feeds.

Here's how you can set up your custom PubMed RSS Feeds:

    • Conduct a search in PubMed (can be any search, simple or advanced).

    • No need to select records -- simply click on the Send to drop-down and select RSS Feed.

    • In the new screen, you can limit the number of records you want to receive each time you invoke the feed (default is 15).

    • Name your feed.

    • Click the Create Feed button.

    • In the new screen you'll see an XML icon. Right mouse-click and select copy shortcut to copy the custom-feed URL.

    • Paste the feed URL into your favorite feed reader.


ScienceDirect: Creating a Customized Feed

ScienceDirect allows you to easily create a custom RSS feed for a journal, a database search of certain terms, or for citations of an article.

  1. From search results, a journal or book home page, a topic alert archive , My Alerts , cited by results, a browse page, or an article page, click RSS. If you do not have JavaScript™ enabled, a new browser window will open. Click Continue. The RSS set up screen will display with an RSS URL for your feed.
  2. Do one of the following:
    1. Copy and paste the URL into your RSS Reader.
    2. Click the URL to view the latest results for your RSS feed.


    1. If you use one of the RSS Readers listed below the feed URL, click that RSS Reader button. The RSS feed will automatically be added to your reader.
      Your RSS Reader will retrieve the latest articles in ScienceDirect that match your RSS feed request.

PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, & Medline: Creating a Cutomized Feed

Note: Be sure to add the feed to an aggregator within one week of its creation. A one-step alert will not expire unless the aggregator does not automatically update results (extremely unlikely) supplied by the feed for two months.

To set up a one-step RSS search alert:

  1. From the Result List or Search History Screen, click the RSS alert icon, or the Create alert for this search link. 

  2. A pop-up screen displays with the search alert information. Copy the Syndication Feed URL into your newsreader. One-Step Search Alert Confirmation Screen


You may also set up one-step journal alerts right from the Publications Browse Screen.

To set up a one-step RSS journal alert:

  1. Click the Publications link on the sub-toolbar. Once you have found the desired publication, click the RSS alert icon to the left of the publication name.

  2. A pop-up screen displays with the journal alert information. Copy the Syndication Feed URL into your newsreader. 

Web of Science: Create an RSS Alert

Web of Science (Social Sciences Citation Index) is the trickiest databse to create an RSS alert; you must also create a personal account with Web of Science to take advantage of this feature.

Use email alerts / RSS feeds to keep up-to-date on the research in a particular area, keep track of your colleagues’ research, or to receive the table of contents of selected publications. Usually one uses the "Search” mode to create in the search for which they want to have auto-alerts or RSS feeds created.

  1. First, you must "register" and be logged in to your Web of Science account:
  2. From the first Web of Science page, click on the link to "Sign-in” and then “Register”. Enter the information required.
  3. After you have run a search query, click on "Save History.” You will see a list of all the searches run during this session.
  4. If you have created several searches, the RSS alert will only be run against your most recently created search (the one on the top of the search history). So you may need to re-type an earlier search to force it to the top.
    Note: To receive the Table of Contents of selected new journal issues as they are entered into the Web of Science database, create a “Search” that is just composed of the titles of journals (publication name) – use the “Publication Name Index” to help create this list. You may “OR” as many journal titles together in one search as you need, or create an alert for a single journal.
  5. Click on ”Save History/Create Alert”. When you click on “Save”, you’ll see a link. Click on it and add the URL to your RSS reader.