One of the first things I tell my new research students is to use a reference management system to help them keep track of the papers they read, and to assist in creating bib files for their bibliography. Most of them use Mendeley, one or two use Zotero. Both do a good job and both are free.
I use neither. I did use Mendeley for several years (and blogged about it a few years ago), but it became slower and slower to sync as my reference collection grew. Eventually it simply couldn’t handle the load. I have over 11,000 papers in my collection of papers, and I was spending several minutes every day waiting for Mendeley just to update the database.
Then I came across Paperpile, which is not so well known as some of its competitors, but it is truly awesome. I’ve now been using it for over a year, and I have grown to depend on it every day to keep track of all the papers I read, and to create my bib files. Continue reading →
Typing tables in LaTeX can get messy, but there are some good tools to simplify the process. One I discovered this week is tablesgenerator.com, a web-based tool for generating LaTeX tables. It also allows the table to saved in other formats including HTML and Markdown. The interface is simple, but it does most things. For complicated tables, some additional formatting may be necessary. Continue reading →
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). Continue reading →
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.
Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
Today I was writing a report which included 20 figures, with the names
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. Continue reading →
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.
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. Continue reading →
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.