Authorea User Spotlight: Jenna Morgan Lang

The Authorea Team

What is the main takeaway from your current research and why is it important?

Microbes rule the world!

Prior to using Authorea, what issues would you encounter when writing research with collaborators?

Worst case scenario: we were emailing Word docs around. Changes would be scattered throughout multiple versions, and it would be a huge headache to sort them all out at the end. Best case scenario, we'd work together on a Google Doc, but I HATE google docs. Formatting in them is frustrating, and adding images inline is annoying. The default view, which everyone else seems to prefer has annoyingly large margins, and I found scrolling through pages to be super clunky. I know that there are alternative views, but they are all unappealing to me. Writing does not come naturally to me, and having everything shoved into one unwieldy document was a serious psychological barrier for me.

Has Authorea helped with remedying some of those issues? How?

Authorea is perfect for me. I love how I can chunk my writing into independent sections; they are easy to maneuver through, using the index on the left. I love that I can just drag and drop sections when I want to change the order. Getting started is easy - instead of making an outline and watching it expand into a big mess, I just create a block for each section of my text. I don't know why, but that makes it so much easier for me to tackle one section at a time. Adding images and tables is a breeze, and the fact that the captions travel automatically with the images is great because I like to write with them inline, but for some journals, they have to be submitted all together at the end. None of these are actually issues related to "collaborative" writing - Authorea just helps me write. And, when I convince collaborators to give it a try with me, they also find that it makes writing easier for them.