One challenge I've encountered as a junior faculty member is trying to stay abreast of the latest developments in philosophy generally and in my subfields in particular. The stack of books that I intend [sic.] to read grows much more quickly than I can read them. The same goes for articles, and I'm sure there are many more books and articles that should be on my list but aren't.
Here are a few inadequate measures I've adopted to try to stay current:
- Getting weekly updates from PhilPapers. I told PhilPapers what areas interest me and signed up to get a weekly email containing titles and abstracts for new papers in those areas. When the email comes in, I scan the titles looking for interesting articles and read their abstracts. If a paper looks particularly interesting or important, I download it, add it to my PhilPapers reading list, or do something else that helps me pretend that I will one day read it. If I had more patience and self-discipline, I'd probably just go to the PhilPapers site every day and scan titles of all of the new articles, rather than looking at those in my discipline.
- Reading Philosophy Compass articles in the morning. Every month or so, I download nearly every article in the latest issue of Philosophy Compass into my Dropbox folder, along with a back issue or two. Most mornings, while I drink my coffee, I open Dropbox on my iPad and read one of the articles. This helps me stay abreast of developments in other subfields. Conveniently, it takes me about as long to read one Philosophy Compass article as it does to get my fill of coffee.
- Going to conferences. My university has been great about providing travel support. This has enabled me to go to conferences, where I find out what other people are working on at the moment.
- Reading books and articles, both recent and not-so-recent, that relate to whatever paper(s) I'm working on at the moment. A lot of the reading I do is motivated by papers that I'm working on. I'll run across a problem or issue and set out to find out what other people have said and are currently saying about it. PhilPapers and the "cited by" links on Google Scholar help me find recent stuff on the topic, which usually leads me down a very informative rabbit hole of further reading.
I've tried other things, such as following journals' RSS feeds and blocking out time in my schedule to read new books and articles that aren't directly related to my own research, but I've had trouble sticking to those routines.
What strategies have people tried for staying abreast of current developments in philosophy? What's worked well? What hasn't?