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.
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.
- Subscribe to the rss feed on my website using feedly or some other rss reader.
- Subscribe to new papers via email from feedburner.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.