Kindle is my new scientific assistant
I like to read scientific papers on my commute.
My method to screen interesting papers combines google reader, f1000, pubmed and researchblogging. Usually, I select more papers than I'm able to read, and the problem is that I have to print some of them for later reading on the train. Of course, I print only what I'm really going to read, but at the time of reading, what I have printed does not necessarily fit my mood and the kind of scientific curiosity I have at that moment: often I repent my selection.
Kindle is my new scientific assistant, not iPad.
I own the minimal one: kindle 3 + wifi, $139. On kindle I can carry only texts (but hundreds of them), therefore I have always a good choice. Compared to iPad, Kindle is cheap and distraction-free. The text resolution is so good but I don't want to bother you with a comparison Kindle vs iPad. The main point one should consider is that Kindle is badly shaped for reading pdf letters like those you could download from Nature, Cell&Development, PLoS and so on. Therefore, I had to start a paradigm shift, that is: to focus more on the text than on the figures.
Is it possible to do academic reading by focusing on the text only?
My answer is YES, it is possible during my commute, when from a manuscript I just need a somewhat narrative story made by introduction and discussion. Then, if the paper is really engaging, I can get back to my office, get the figures on my desktop PC while reading the results on the kindle and be lost in the experimental details with great pleasure.
Is it easy?
What makes me very confortable, is the combination Instapaper + Kindle. Instead of downloading a pdf, you just need to open the Science full text in html mode. Then, you send the page to Instapaper (free) with a bookmarklet. Instapaper will cut all the jam while keeping the main text (with inline figures, you were afraid to miss them yah?), and send it to your Kindle via wireless (free). I directly receive my reading dispatch, including blogs, articles and research manuscripts every Friday morning, perfect for the weekend! In conclusion, I do everything with one click: yes, it is easy.
It is possible to search PubMed articles with Kindle?
Yes of course! Kindle has an integrated web-browser, just use the mobile version of PubMed at this link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/.
How to sync Kindle with Mendeley?
The Kinsync app keeps your kindle updated by grabbing Mendeley papers to read on the move.
Can I pretend to be a bioinformatic with Kindle?
I'm learning to use R to make some statistics, I'm following the tutorials on the kindle while writing some lines of code at the computer. And it seems you can read books also with this machine.