Everyone who has written a paper with another author will know it can be tricky making sure you don’t end up with two versions that need to be merged. The good news is that the days of sending updated drafts by email backwards and forwards is finally over (having lasted all of 25 years — I can barely imagine writing papers before email).
Posts Tagged ‘productivity’:
I received this email today: Dear Professor Hyndman, I was wondering if you could maybe give me some advice on how to organize your research process. I am able to search the literature on a certain topic and identify where there is a question to work with. My main difficult is to organize my paper annotations in order to help me to guide my research process, i.e, how to manage the information gathered in those papers to compose and structure a document which can represent the research developed so far. I have been looking at different tools such scrivener, Qiqqa, papers2, etc but I am not sure if one of these tools would be the right way to go. To be honest I am not even sure a tool would do what I am looking for, not just organize references and annotate pdfs but to get more control of my research process. I appreciate if I could get your thoughts on this subject.
I gave this talk last night to the Melbourne Users of R Network.
Updated: 21 November 2012 Make is a marvellous tool used by programmers to build software, but it can be used for much more than that. I use make whenever I have a large project involving R files and LaTeX files, which means I use it for almost all of the papers I write, and almost of the consulting reports I produce.
Today I was writing a report which included 20 figures, with the names demandplot1.pdf, demandplot2.pdf, …, demandplot20.pdf, and all with similar captions. Clearly a loop was required. After all, LaTeX is a programming language, so we should be able to take advantage of its capabilities.
If you find this blog helpful (or even if you don’t but you’re interested in blogs on research issues and tools), there are a few other blogs about doing research that you might find useful. Here are a few that I read. Patter — Pat Thomson. The Thesis Whisperer — Inger Mewburn. The Research Whisperer – several RMIT researchers. the (research) supervisor’s friend — Geof Hill. My Research Rants – Jordi Cabot. The Three Month Thesis – James Hayton. profserious – Anthony Finkelstein. Academic Life — Marialuisa Aliotta. Help for New Professors — Faye Hicks. The Art of Scientific Writing – Faye Hicks. Explorations of style– Rachael Cayley. sharmanedit — Anna Sharman. GradHacker – writers from several universities. PhD Life – Warwick Uni students. PhD Comics — essential reading for every PhD student, and good therapy. I’ve created a bundle so you can subscribe to all of these in one go. Of course, there are lots of statistics blogs as well, and blogs about other research disciplines. The ones above are those that concentrate on generic research issues.
A very useful way of keeping up with blogs in a particular area is to subscribe to a blog aggregator. These will syndicate posts from a large number of blogs and provide links back to the original sources. So you only need to subscribe once to get all the good stuff in that area. There are now several blog aggregators available that might be of interest to readers here. And this blog is now syndicated on several other sites including those listed below.
Every day I receive emails, or comments on this blog, asking for help with R, forecasting, LaTeX, possible research topics, how to install software, or some other thing I’m supposed to know something about. Unfortunately, I cannot provide a one-man help service to the rest of the world. I used to reply to all the requests explaining where to go for help, but I stopped replying a while ago as it took too much time to do even that. If you want help, please ask at either stats.stackexchange.com (for R or statistics questions) or tex.stackexchange.com (for LaTeX questions). Unless you are one of my students, the only questions I will answer are ones that concern my R packages or research papers. And even then, I won’t reply if the answer is in the help files. I write those help files for a reason, so please read them. I’m sorry I can’t do more, but if I did everything people ask me to do, I’d never write any papers or produce any R packages, and I think that’s a better use of my time.
A great new feature has been added to Google Scholar Citations. For those authors who have set up a citations page, it is now possible to get email alerts for any new articles they publish, or for any new citations of their articles. So you can track citations to your own work this way, and stay up-to-date with key authors in your field. Setting up a Google Citations page is super-easy and was already worth doing. This new functionality is another reason to do it. After all, as researchers we want people to read our stuff, so we might as well make it as easy as possible for people to find what we write. To set up your Google Citations page, go to scholar.google.com/citations. To follow an author, find their citations page and look for the “Follow this author” box at the top right of the page. Hopefully, Google will add RSS feeds as an option in the future as I’d much rather get alerts that way then by yet more email in my inbox.
Whether travelling to a seminar or conference, or just having a holiday, using a travel organizer can make the process simpler and easier. A good travel organizer keeps all your travel details (flights, hotels, car rentals, meetings, weather forecasts, etc.) organized and synced to whatever devices you use (two computers, an iPad and an iPhone in my case).