You can set up alerts for keywords or specific authors in Google Scholar. Do a simple search of whatever it is you are looking for and you should see an envelope graphic with 'create email alert' alongside it, just before the list of articles and papers is shown.
Or what I do is create alerts for new ToCs of specific journals. This is always a free service. Alternatively you can go into publisher websites and create a number of alerts for different journals. I'm not aware if you can do a keyword alert via different journals though.
I've just checked Sage and it looks like you can do something in addition to a basic ToC alert. Here's what Sage says:
•Citation Alert – from the Article Services Box in an article view, click Alert me when this article is cited
•Correction Alert – from the Article Services Box in an article view, click Alert me if a correction is posted
•Search Alert – click Create a new Search Alert to establish the search criteria for a new alert or click Save as an alert from the Search History page.
Unless there is a meta method I think you will have to go into every database you use and check out their alert procedures.
I do not know what area you are in, but in Science Direct you can put in a topic alert and in Web of Science there is something similar (Saved searches) and also a citation alert...I have a couple for some literature reviews/key papers in the area, which most people will cite whenever they write in my topic.
I may sound odd but depending on how far you are in the PHD process there comes a time you may not LIKE to know or incorporate the latest development in your field as they make doubt your contribution. As a matter of fact there is always something new or someone working on what we are doing.
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