Academic collaboration

I was surprised when I recently looked at my options for collaborating on an academic research project. The surprise was that there are so darn many cloud apps available, and so darn few apps that are helpful.

Obviously this isn't true for everyone. We all have our own workflows, and mine just happens to not fit into the typical collaboration app, which is designed for business use rather than academic research collaborations.

What I need:

  • Document sharing
  • Ability to comment on documents
  • Discussions - not chat, real discussions that are on a specific topic, and that I can return to in a year
  • Math support (MathJax)
  • Task management
  • Milestones
  • Code and data sharing, complete with explicit version control
  • Something I can afford (it has to be cheap, not priced for corporations)

I didn't find even one app that does all this. Basecamp fails on a few of them (no math support, high price). Slack is too expensive and chat doesn't cut it. Dropbox Paper comes close. It's not that great for task management, and it doesn't have explicit version control, unless you save multiple copies with different names. It's also too expensive once I've used all of my free storage. You can have discussions, but it's less than ideal.

I will continue pushing forward with my current approach where I use multiple apps...


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