Collaborative writing apps for dummies

They're basically online word processors with collaboration features such as clear commenting, but without extra features such as project management tools for teams. Their simplicity and popularity are their greatest strengths, particularly for freelancers and people who collaborate often with others outside of their company.

Collaborative writing apps for dummies

Click to email this to a friend Opens in new window Research collaboration now involves significant online communication.

What to Look for in a Collaborative Writing App

But sending files back and forth between collaborators creates redundancy of effort, causes unnecessary delays and, many times, leaves people frustrated with the whole idea of collaboration. Luckily, there are many web-based collaborative writing tools aimed at the general public or specifically at academic writers to help.

The image of the solitary genius formulating deep thoughts in the closed confines of his dimly-lit study has never been very appropriate for research, neither in the sciences nor, most likely, in the humanities. Even in the old times, scholars were connected to each other through their books and other publications, which they would read, cite and comment on.

Ultimately, writing has always been a dialogic process of intertwining discourses. However, research projects have become increasingly complex, for example involving experts from a wide range of disciplines, so collaborative writing has become more and more widespread. Increasingly, we are collaboratively writing research proposals or project reports, copy-editing articles in a distributed manner, putting together the minutes of a conference call, managing the tasks and responsibilities of people in a project, or indeed authoring research articles and textbooks.

Project members may be working in various institutions scattered around the country or around the globe. It creates redundancy of effort, causes unnecessary delays and, many times, leaves people frustrated with the whole idea of collaboration. Therefore, collaborative writing now happens online.

And luckily, there are many web-based collaborative writing tools aimed at the general public or specifically at academic writers to help us. However, with so many possible use cases and their requirements, and with so many different tools out there, the real issue actually has become how to find the right tool for each job.

Requirements and tools for collaborative academic writing The symbols in the above table have the following meaning: It is impossible to comment on the entire table in detail.

So, what requirements are vital in which situation, and which tool best fulfills them? The lowest common denominator: The text editor provides a number of features academics need, like footnotes and tables.

collaborative writing apps for dummies

Export formats include docx, odt and pdf, making it easy to take your text and continue working in some other environment. Comments are associated with specific portions of the text and others can weigh in on each comment. There is fine-grained rights management, so you can allow any collaborator to view, comment, or edit the text.

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collaborative writing apps for dummies

The right tool for the job: Five collaborative writing tools for academics. Jacob Hallén May 25, at pm - Reply Combining Etherpad with Restructured Text gives you all the nice features with references and footnotes plus the collaborative approach and the version control.

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