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Staying Current through RSS: What is RSS?

Explains what an RSS feed is and how you can use RSS feeds to stay current on the literature or any topic; provides links to RSS readers/aggregators and directories; displays RSS feeds from 30 journals, categorized by topic.

RSS History

For brief histories of the RSS format and specifications, see:

RSS 2.0 at Harvard Law

Specification History - RSS Advisory Board

History of RSS - RSS Specifications

Example of an RSS Feed

Here is an example of an RSS feed from Scientific American (Global feed):

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What is RSS?

RSS Feed Icon

RSS (also referred to as Rich Site Summary; RDF Site Summary; and, occasionally, Really Simple Syndication) is a format for delivering regularly changing content to a website, desktop, or mobile device. Content providers, such as journal publishers, newspapers, magazines, radio and television networks, and other organizations can syndicate content automatically through RSS feeds. Typical RSS feeds of scientific journals include:

  • Current issue only
  • Recent issues
  • New papers
  • Papers published online ahead of print
  • Most read articles
  • Most cited articles
  • Editors' choice
  • News summaries
  • Topical feeds (e.g., Genetics, Neuroscience, Plant Biology)
  • Feeds by article type (e.g., Feature Articles, Editorials, Commentaries)

(However, a single journal rarely offers all of these types of feeds.)

ScienceWatch RSS Feed

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RSS Biomedical News

Here are some specialty RSS feed providers of interest to biomedical researchers:

RSS Feed Directories - Biomedical