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A couple of years ago, a number of scientists on Twitter decided to try and read 365 scientific papers in a calendar year. Joshua Drew summarized his efforts and results quite well, and Jacquelyn Gill provides a great introduction to the motivation for “365 papers” (among other efforts) on the Contemplative Mammoth. And over the holiday break, as I was sorting out my “To Read” folder, I realized that it was getting rather full, and I needed a strategy to get that number down from about 972 to something more… manageable.

I think this is a neat idea, and by joining together with others completing the same goal can act as encouragement (something we use with Shut Up and Write sessions), but it can also make those not participating feel guilty about not keeping on top of their own “To Read” lists. The Twitter hashtag #365papers also explicitly implies that all 365 days of the year are available for work, which is far from the truth. At my organization, we budget for 230 working days in a year, which accounts for weekends, statutory/bank holidays, annual leave, and other non-work days (e.g., professional development). So I’m going to try for #230papers.

The astute among you will have noticed that 230 < 972, and there’s a very high probability that papers published in 2017 will be of interest to me, so it’s certain that my “To Read” folder won’t shrink by much.

972 > 230

It turns out that 972 is not less than 230.

So in addition, I’m adopting a ruthless culling approach: if I can’t remember why I downloaded the paper after reading the abstract, I’ll delete it (unless it appears to have taken some effort to obtain, or is from an obscure source).

I’m also hoping this will also kick-start my blog posts this year, which have lagged of late. I certainly won’t write about every paper, but I’ll post a list of papers and monthly tallies below for those playing along at home, and I’ll try to tweet links periodically with the #230papers hashtag.

Here’s to a brain-expanding knowledge-assimilating 2017!

See the full list here.