Extending Google Docs to Collaborate on Research Papers

  • Watson R
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Researchers have many software options to write research papers on their own, but comparatively fewer options when they want to collaborate with others. Techniques such as Concurrent Versioning Systems and Computer Supported CooperativeWork groupware systems are still used far less often than email exchange of documents annotated with changes. We argue that the two main reasons for this state of affairs in addition to lack of exposure are (1) usability problems, and (2) the need for users to resolve conflicts. Google Docs appears to be well-placed to deal with these problems effectively; however, there are problems with this software as well, especially when used by researchers to collaborate on articles. We compare Google Docs to other solutions, and propose extensions to deal with its shortcomings. Proof-of-concept implementations of these extensions are also detailed.

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  • Richard Watson

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