Authorea

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Authorea is an online collaborative writing tool that allows researchers to write, cite, collaborate, host data and publish. It has been described as "Google Docs for Scientists".[1]

Overview[edit]

Authorea allows researchers to write documents together and attach references, figures, data, and source code. Features of the tool include collaborative editing (multiple people editing a document at the same time), automatic citation formatting, tracking changes, and the ability to make any document public or fully private.[2]

When used as an editing tool for scientific papers, Authorea will automatically format a paper in the preferred style and provide files suitable for online submission to peer-reviewed journals and conferences. Over 40 publisher- and journal-specific styles are currently supported.[3]

Authorea is part of the open science movement and supports open access publishing for academic research and free access to research data. The free version of the service allows unlimited public documents, public storage space (for figures, data, code, and other supporting material), and an unlimited number of collaborators (co-authors) per document.[1] Public documents are free for anyone to read.

Authorea also supports private writing: a document and all its attachments can be kept private, visible only to co-authors. A free account allows the user to create one free private document, with more available via a paid subscription.[3]

The site currently supports an online LaTeX editor as well as a Markdown (wiki) editor. A simple MS Word-like (WYSIWYG) interface is currently in development.[4]

Authorea had over 10000 active users as of September 2014.[4]

History[edit]

Authorea was launched in February 2013 by co-founders Alberto Pepe and Nathan Jenkins and scientific adviser Matteo Cantiello, who met while working at CERN.[1] They recognized common difficulties in the scholarly writing and publishing process.[5] To address these problems, Pepe and Jenkins developed an online, web-based editor to support real-time collaborative writing, and sharing and execution of research data and code. Jenkins finished the first prototype site build in less than three weeks.[5][6]

Bootstrapping for almost two years, Pepe and Jenkins grew Authorea by reaching out to friends and colleagues, speaking at events and conferences, and partnering with early adopter institutions.[2]

In September 2014, Authorea announced the successful closure of a $610K round of seed funding with the New York Angels and ff Venture Capital groups.[1]

Authorea is based in New York City.

List of features[edit]

The Authorea platform supports a number of features relevant to academic writing.

Collaboration[edit]

  • Collaborative writing – Multiple users can edit a document at the same time[3]
  • Commenting – Document sections and highlighted text can be annotated with public or private comments[7][8]
  • Live chat in-article – Co-authors can chat online while writing[9]
  • Change tracking – The full history of the document is tracked with Git; individual edits can be reviewed and undone[9][10]

Formatting and citations[edit]

  • Citation Search – The built-in citation search allows adding full citations directly from PubMed and CrossRef, or from a paper's DOI[3]
  • Reference Formatting – Authorea automatically formats references for a target publication upon export[11][3]
  • Publisher styles – Over 40 publisher and journal style templates are supported[3]
  • Equations – Authorea supports equations written in LaTeX markup[11]

Rich content[edit]

  • Figures – Drag-and-drop figures directly into a document or upload figures from a folder[3]
  • Data publishing – Raw data files and iPython notebooks can be attached to figures[3][7]
  • Live source code – Authorea provides a live iPython Notebook server for opening and running attached iPython notebooks. Allows calculations and data analysis[3]
  • Interactive figures – Authorea supports interactive figures using D3.js[8]

Export and import[edit]

  • GitHub and Offline Editing – Documents and files are stored in Git repositories on Authorea servers. Each document can be synced to a GitHub account for offline editing and backup[11][7][12]
  • Export – Word, PDF, and LaTeX export formats are supported[11][7]
  • Import – Users can import a LaTeX or .docx file to create a new Authorea document[12]

Technical architecture[edit]

Authorea is built primarily with Ruby on Rails, and documents and files are stored in Git repositories. Resque and Faye are used as well.[4]

The site supports iPython notebooks and runs a live iPython notebook server, so that users can attach, re-run and reproduce scientific calculations and data analysis directly in an Authorea document.[3][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Lomas, Natasha (2014-09-22). "Authorea Nabs $610k For Its Bid To Become A 'Google Docs For Scientists'". TechCrunch. 
  2. ^ a b Wolff, Spencer (2014-09-09). "Authoring the Future". Huffington Post. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Perkel, Jeffrey (2014-10-01). "Scientific writing: the online cooperative". Nature News. 
  4. ^ a b c Dale, Brady (2014-09-14). "This software for academic paper writing is inspired by Git". Technical.ly. 
  5. ^ a b Stein, Gabe; Mankins, Matt (2013-08-30). "Can The GitHub For Science Convince Researchers To Open-Source Their Data?". FastCompany Labs. 
  6. ^ Kovalesky, Brian (2014-10-15). "Authorea wants to remake the academic collaboration process with its cloud-based platform for researchers and scholars". Startup Beat. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Irving, Damien (2014-04-20). "Authorea: the future of scientific writing?". Dr Climate blog. 
  8. ^ a b John, Otander (2013-03-07). "Writing papers with Authorea, batteries included". Astrobiased. 
  9. ^ a b "A Collaborative Approach to Academic Papers: Authorea". Unveiled Web. 2014-01-22. 
  10. ^ Turnbull, Connor (2013-05-29). "Authorea: Simple Research Collaboration". AppStorm. 
  11. ^ a b c d Graham, Jim (2014-10-02). "New Online Authoring Tools for Collaborative Manuscripts". SciMatic. 
  12. ^ a b Joshua, Smith (2014-05-15). "Migrating a LaTeX manuscript hosted on GitHub to Authorea". Generic Surname Blog. 

External links[edit]