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As a researcher and a member of the CHISEL research group, I use many software tools on a regular basis that I find useful.


Writing and Collaborating on Papers

For writing papers, I use Sublime Text 3 with the LaTeXTools package installed. This allows me to edit and compile the document directly from ST3. I have the exact same setup with the Atom editor as well, and both work well.

For collaborating on papers, I prefer to use GitHub and host the source files (e.g., tex,bib) in a repository dedicated for the paper. I believe this gives each co-author the freedom to choose and set up their own work environment and tools (as opposed to something like ShareLaTeX).

Typically when starting to work on a paper, we use Google Docs to draft out an outline for the paper and reach an agreement on the direction of the paper. The commenting mechanism on Google Docs works well and supports brainstorming.

Other tools I typically use:

  • LatexDiff, a command line tool, for generating visual diffs between compiled documents. Very useful when outlining changes to reviewers between revisions. Similarly, Git-LatexDiff aims to generate a diff and simplify the process even further
  • AbstractFormater for formating text. Very useful, especially for paper submissions
  • BibTex normalizer for cleaning up the bibtex file
  • doi2bib.org
  • EZProxy plugin for accessing academic papers from outside of the university’s network
  • Octobox for managing GitHub notifications
  • Draft: a writing tool that I find helpful in overcoming writer’s block

Preprints and Study Data Sharing

  • Zenodo: for sharing data from our studies (e.g., replication package)
  • arXiv: for preprints or papers that are not archived elsewhere

Team Communication

  • Slack: most of our group’s communication happens on Slack, though we may switch to Mattermost later this year
  • Skype: video calls when we’re not co-located
  • Email

Schedule and Time Tracking

Keeping Up To Date

Knowledge Management and To-Dos

Presentation Slides

Posters

  • In the past I used PowerPoint to create conference posters, but I’m trying to switch to Inkscape

Collecting Data from Surveys and Interviews

Data Analysis

  • Google Sheets and R Studio: for data exploration and analysis
  • RQDA: for qualitative data analysis (coding, memoing, generating themes)
  • Tidyverse: a set of packages for data science with R
  • DataGrip: when data-mining large SQL data sets

Creating Visualizations

Coding Tools / IDEs

App / Tool Design

User Analytics

Website

Passwords

Backup

  • Duplicity: for encrypted local and remote backups

Running a Research Seminar

Course Teaching and Learning Management System


Tools I wish I could use, but they’re Mac-only


What tools do you use?
Any recommendations for other tools I should try?

P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter.

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Alexey Zagalsky


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Alexey Zagalsky

Software Engineering Researcher

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