Why should I use Authorea to write my paper?

Scientists are busy people. We have deadlines to meet, meetings to attend, lectures to give. And of course we need to write papers, not only because we are excited to share our findings, but also because scientific papers are the currency of the academic world. Authorea was created by scientists and for scientists. The idea: improving the process of writing and sharing the results of research. While Authorea has big plans for the paper of the future, in this post I want to focus on the here and now. This is because when I talk about the platform with my colleagues, by far the most common question I get is “Why should I use Authorea to write my paper?” Great question! Here some highlights that should make you curious:

  1. With Authorea, your paper is accessible from any computer anywhere in the world.

  2. You can write it from your browser, no installations required.

  3. You can write in LaTeX or in markdown. Soon you’ll have a wysiwyg too

  4. Your paper is also a beautiful web page.

  5. Collaboration is made easy. Managing your co-authors is straightforward.

  6. Authorea is version controlled. Again, no installations required.

  7. Adding citations has never been easier. Believe me, you will never wanna go back.

  8. You can include data and code in your paper. This allows for transparency and reproducibility of results.

  9. Export to any journal format with just one click.

  10. Powerful commenting system. For internal or even external review.

Ok, If you got this far you deserve more than a list of fancy features, so here’s my personal experience and why I think you should start using Authorea.

I switched to writing papers with Authorea about a year ago and I noticed a number of immediate improvements: first of all my papers get written faster. Then I noticed that I have no need to exchange emails with collaborators concerning the paper. This is fantastic. All the action happens (and it’s logged) on Authorea, including discussions about revisions and suggestions for improvements. This said, I didn’t really expect the most important upturn. By getting rid of the overhead I previously considered necessary, unavoidable parts of the scientific writing process, something remarkable happened. I actually started enjoying writing more! And I do not mean just publishing; I had experienced that joy before. The difference is I now cherish the time I spend putting my science into words. It might sound crazy, but Authorea did something amazing: it made me discover the pleasure of writing science together with my collaborators.

So if you ask me “Why should I write my next paper with Authorea?” my honest answer is “Because you will love it!”. So take Authorea for a spin and make up your own mind. Have fun!

A colleague writing a paper with Authorea at the Skyhouse, near Morro Bay (California)

As chief scientist at Authorea, I am obviously a biased party. That said, I am an active researcher in the field of astrophysics and I’ve been writing papers for several years. I wrote papers in LaTeX, I used various reference formatting systems (e.g. bibtex), I sent hundreds of draft revisions as .tar attachments via email, I set up SVN and CVS repositories to version-control my papers. I published articles written in collaborations ranging from 1 to 40+ co-authors. I know from first-hand experience that the pain can be real and I am truly interested in sharing my experience with different approaches with colleagues.