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Great news – email table of contents alerts now organized by subject

With PLoS ONE publishing up to 20 new articles a day and 350 articles a month (at present), we appreciate that it can be hard to keep up with what’s new and exciting.

We rapidly discovered that at this level of activity, we could not continue to offer our monthly email content alert because its length was becoming too unwieldy for anyone to use. So we stopped it and moved to weekly alerts only. Then we started to outgrow this option too and our authors and users told us what they thought – here’s a typical comment ” Categorising the Etoc by subject is an urgent need for PLoS ONE”.

Therefore, we’re delighted to announce that from 4.23.09, the weekly email table of contents alerts from PLoS ONE was  sub-categorized by subject using the same taxonomy that you see on our home page.


You can still only receive an email alert for the entire weekly output, but now (provided you are viewing the HTML version of the email) you will be able to click on the topic/s that most interest you and immediately jump to the point in the email that lists those articles.

In addition, we’ve also added author names in response to your feedback, so that you can scan the list for authors you respect.

Here’s what one PLoS ONE user, the blogger Scicurious, told our online discussion expert, Bora Zivkovic in a Gmail chat when she first saw her new content alert:

Scicurious: Oooooooh, PLoS ONE has subject headings, is that new?

Scicurious: Super nice!!!

Bora Zivkovic: Yes!   Like?

Scicurious: Love it!

Bora Zivkovic: Click and it takes your straight to your topic

Scicurious: Keeps me from having to scroll through stuff i don’t like

Since many research areas overlap, and many articles appear in more than one subject area, you may well see the same paper under more than one subject heading, but we feel that for a multi-disciplinary journal this is preferable to us trying to artificially place each article under a single ‘primary’ topic (that choice is better made by the you the reader, after you are shown a list of the papers that have some degree of relevance to your field).

Because of the number of papers being published, and the fact that each one appears in several categories, we appreciate that the alert email itself will still be very long. However we would not expect people to be printing these emails and we would hope that the ‘Jump To’ navigation will mean this isn’t an issue. We will continue to work on the ability to allow users to sign up to email alerts for specific fields.

Once you’ve experienced our new improved format, we’d like to hear what you think, so please feel free to leave your comments at the end of this post. If you have not signed up for content alerts previously but would now like to do so, please register.

Finally, email alerts are just one way to stay aware of new content. You can also sign up to RSS alerts, and these are available for each sub-discipline we publish in.

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