How Can Authorea Help University Students and Professors Writing and Reviewing Papers?

Simple, mundane tasks can take huge tolls on our productivity. A growing body of research is quantitatively demonstrating the existence of willpower depletion, so don’t be a statistic. Authorea helps cut out friction associated with academic writing and editing, so you can get back to doing what you love instead of just writing about it.

Here’s the situation:

You’ve spent months (or even years) running and reproducing experiments, keeping meticulous notes, collecting and annotating data, writing code, writing grant applications, presenting your progress and, occasionally, sleeping. All for that slam-dunk publication. Which, finally, you are writing up.

But there are some problems.

From stylistic preferences and building consensus with your colleagues, to back-up paranoia, to re-re-re-formatting your article for the reach, next best, achievable, journal of last resort, Authorea has you covered.

An Authorea-tative Difference

As the recent over 200-author CERN paper demonstrates, Authorea can really kill it when it comes to collaborating, on any scale. This is particularly powerful, given the well-feared notion that communication complexity increases as the square of the number of people on a project. Regardless of your level of distribution (worldwide or just down the hall), with Authorea, everyone you care to include can view, edit, comment, commit, and even upload and review data, code, and figures.

Let’s consider that last point for a minute. No longer will you have to fumble for flash drives, attach and contextualize via email, or compile, edit, and view in separate programs. All the data and code associated with your figures is online in the upper left-hand folder for your collaborators to play with. Further, if your document is public, members from the wider Authorea community can comment, verify, and even fork it - increasing your FF and contribution to science. Pretty sweet.

Authorea, given the oft-made comparisons to GitHub and Google Docs, also helps with versioning updates and the distributed editing of your manuscript. Let’s say your PI isn’t thrilled with your phrasing or explanation in the Discussion. With Authorea, you can: lock the section while you edit it (i.e. no one is looking over your shoulder, judging); commit the update for all to see (oh, how they will marvel); get real-time feedback through additional comments and edits; and, when your PI has a change of heart, you can easily revert back to the section’s previous version (by clicking on that handy “History” clock icon).

So, Authorea provides a platform for collaborative writing and review of your manuscript, an easy and automated citation mechanism, a one-stop repository for all your figures’ data, code, and editing, and even lets you get pre-publication feedback from your peers. What’s more, Authorea will also format your manuscript for the journal of your choice - text, figures, bibliography and all - at a click of a button.

Two questions:

  1. Why wouldn’t you use Authorea for your next collaborative publication?

  2. What would you do with the time saved when you’d otherwise be emailing around drafts and data, sharing and modifying code, clarifying, citing, and formatting?

Let us know in the comments!

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