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Staying up to date: Alerting & current awareness services: Journal, Search & Citation alerts

This guide provides information about how to set up alerts to be notified of new information in your field across resources such as journals, books, websites, conferences, research data and funding.

General tips about journal alerts

Most Library databases allow you to create alerts for journal table of contents and saved searches. 

You will then get an automatic notifications whenever a new issue of a journal or article matching your search terms is added to the database.

Sometimes you will need to create an account with a database to use these features. Note this is not the same as your University account.

Alerts are usually available in email or RSS format.

Journal TOC alerts


Table of Contents (TOC) alert services will send you the contents of new issues when they are published. Most journals provide a TOC service.

Search for the name of a journal on Google and sign up for alerts or updates on the journal homepage. You can also sign up for TOC alerts through Library databases.

Search alerts

Search alerts allow you save your search terms and be alerted by email or RSS when new articles are added to the database. They are available for most Library databases and for Google Scholar. 

In library databases, once you have completed a search look at the top of results lists for terms such as save alert, set alerts or set feed. In CINAHL and Ebscohost databases the link appears under the Share button.

Set up search alerts in Google Scholar by clicking Create Alert at the bottom of the left menu of the search results.

Citation or author alerts

Create a citation alert to track when your publications or other articles of interest are cited by other authors.

Databases like Scopus and Web of Science provide citation alerts for authors. Look for links such as Citation Alerts or Follow to create alerts.

Note - databases only include citations included in that database so the number of citations can differ between databases.

Some publishers also allow you to track citations for specific articles, including Oxford University Press and Cambridge Journals. Other publishers may provide citation alerts for authors through the author's account with them. Publishers who do this include Springer's Citation Alert service and Elsevier's CiteAlert services.

Google Scholar citation alerts

Google Scholar also provides the ability to track authors who have a Google Scholar profile. Go to the author's profile and click Follow to set up alerts.

If an author does not have a profile, it is still possible to track individual papers by clicking the Cited by link underneath a result and then from the list of results using the Create Alert link on the left menu.

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