Useful tutorials

There are some tools that I use reg­u­larly, and I would like my research stu­dents and post-​​docs to learn them too. Here are some great online tuto­ri­als that might help.

Keeping up to date with my research papers

Many peo­ple ask me to let them know when I write a new research paper. I can’t do that as there are too many peo­ple involved, and it is not scalable.

The solu­tion is sim­ple. Take your pick from the fol­low­ing options. Each is auto­matic and will let you know when­ever I pro­duce a new paper.

  1. Sub­scribe to the rss feed on my web­site using feedly or some other rss reader.
  2. Sub­scribe to new papers via email from feedburner.
  3. Go to my Google scholar page and click “Fol­low” at the top of the page.

The lat­ter method will work for any­one with a Google scholar page. The Google scholar option only includes research papers. The first two meth­ods also include any new sem­i­nars I give or new soft­ware pack­ages I write.

Paperpile makes me more productive

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 →

Generating tables in LaTeX

Typ­ing tables in LaTeX can get messy, but there are some good tools to sim­plify the process. One I dis­cov­ered this week is tables​gen​er​a​tor​.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 →

Managing research ideas

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 →

Makefiles for R/LaTeX projects

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 →

Blogs about research

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.