Careers, Guest blog

Olivia read a paper every day for 899 days.

From Nature Careers

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Olivia Rissland says that her reading habits have made her “a much more well-rounded scientist”.

Keeping up with the research literature is a must for any scientist, but it tends to slip down the priority list when there’s grant-writing, fieldwork, publishing, teaching, and analysis to be done.

“Reading papers definitely falls under that ‘important and not urgent’ category of activities,” says molecular biologist Olivia Rissland, who runs a lab focussed on understanding gene regulation at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.

“It’s easy to say, ‘I’ll read that paper tomorrow,’ and then, how much time goes by and you haven’t read a single paper?”

On 1 January 2018, Rissland set herself the task of reading one paper per day, every day, as “a bit of a lark”.

“I thought, ‘Let’s see how long I can keep this up’, but within a month I was hooked,” she says. “I loved the exercise of learning something new every day and seeing how that opened up ideas in my own research.”

By June 17 2020, Rissland announced on Twitter that not only had she had kept the habit up, but it’s benefited her career in ways she couldn’t have predicted.

“As of today, I have read 899 papers in 899 days,” she tweeted. “I never would have imagined 2.5 years ago how much I would learn through this and how this would make me a better scientist and human.

Read the full article by Natalie Parletta here on the Nature website –

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