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BITC Publication Class 3: Technology Assists

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OK, when we are writing scientific papers, it's not like it was just a couple of decades ago, where we sat down with pencil and paper and wrote a narrative, word by word. Now, in the twenty-first century, we have a lot of 'assists' we can get from technology. I am going to give you four examples--there are more and more--of ways in which technology can essentially help you to be an effective writer. One of my favorites is Google Documents, which has now morphed into Google Drive. This is essentially just a platform by which you can share a document, and a bunch of people can work on the document simultaneously, and essentially collaborate in thinking together. This is a paper on open access and small society journals, that several of my colleagues and I are working on. What you can see is the basic text, and then we have comments from different ones of us. Essentially, this is a great way of getting initial thinking, especially when you have a group of colleagues who maybe can't sit down in the same room, and work together. Maybe this is out of order ... maybe this should be first ... but another thing that my group uses is the idea of discussion lists, and email forums. Here, using Google Groups, you can see a series of discussions about how we are developing this particular manuscript. Here ... "attached is the most updated version of the manuscript, including ..." etc., etc. and you can see notes to different people as far as what they need to do. But essentially, we have a whole bunch of members of this group, all of who were working on this paper, and it's a very good way to coordinate steps forward in developing the paper. This is not the only platform for this--there are lot's of platforms that are essentially collaborative discussion lists, collaborative forums--but this is one very robust way that you can coordinate efforts with your colleagues and coauthors. On a more personal [individual?] level, I think that we have the potential for saving a lot of grief when we deal with Literature Cited sections. This is a 'detail' thing ... EndNote is one possibility; there are several other platforms for managing a bibliography. Essentially what you need to do is you need to find a solution by which you can manage your bibliography. I don't think that it is practical or advisable to do this by hand. Why? Remember, we talked about choosing a journal ... you will have papers rejected. When your paper is rejected, the last thing that you want to do is spend half a day reformatting all of the literature citations and all of the in-text citations, and going through every last detail and making sure you have it in the format of the new journal. Things like EndNote are effective platforms by which you can manage the database of your literature, and output your citations in a consistent format that fits with each of the journals' requirements. And then one more bit of technology that can help us is Mendeley and this is essentially a platform by which you can do several of the things I just talked about ... you can communicate, you can share documents, you can manage literature, but Mendeley is a very interesting platform by which you can essentially coordinate collaborate research. So this is another thing that I would advise you to take note of. So essentially the whole idea in this little piece is what are the bits of technology that you can grab onto that will make your life notably easier, and your function as a scientist notably more efficient. I am not into just grabbing technology because technology exists. I want you to see concrete advantages because you are using this or that bit of technology.

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 4 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: A. Townsend Peterson
Director: A. Townsend Peterson
Views: 30
Posted by: townpeterson on Dec 24, 2012

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