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2017 Review of the Best Publishing Connected Tools

The average number of authors per research papers has increased from 2 to more than 5 authors on average in only 3 decades. Which means collaboration is more and more usual in research.

The more you write the more verification you will need while writing, just to be sure you are using the right terms or the most common.

Maybe you need insight on tools that can help you write your papers in a collaborative way? And maybe you also need comprehensive tools to assist you in your writing?

Then you are in the right place because we are now finishing our series of 3 articles dedicated to connected solutions and SaaS for researchers with publishing tools.

We have learned about management tools in the first of our reviews, and then we saw inside-the-lab solutions in details. Let’s now enter the writing and publishing area.

Manage your publications better!

First, what is publication management?

The goal of publication management is to sort out and archive the scientific papers you produce or the one you read and want to keep nearby.

Publication management tools are useful for collecting and organizing publications you want to read or cite in a paper for example.

Nowadays, those tools are not only used to manage publications you want to save for reading. They are also involved in the paper writing part of the researcher’s work. Meaning those tools are publishing tools also. And since writing is a collaborative work, the tools attached to it become collaborative ones.

What does this kind of tool feature?

This kind of tool enables to collect scientific information of interest instantly, with browser tools for example. Add new references in a library as soon as you find them: add references of interest as you discover them with browser extensions or desktop app.

In general, they have classic features such as:

  • Save and annotate articles from the web.
  • Add notes to your reference library.
  • Access your references and notes from any computer through a web app.
  • Get citation suggestions.

New tools integrate also writing and collaborative solution to collect data. The features may include:

  • The automatic appearing of everyone’s annotations on your article’s PDF or full text on the journal website.
  • Integrated writing documents in Microsoft Word and Google Docs.
  • Find references without leaving your document with a browser integrated on your working document.
  • Online sharing space to discuss references with co-authors for example.
  • Collaborative article annotation.

The element that makes this kind of tools rather essential is that you can access your saved documents from anywhere. For example, import your existing reference libraries if you write from another computer.

The example of F1000 Workspace

Online tool (SaaS), software • For all scientific fields • Free (advanced paid features) • Made in the UK

F1000 Workspace is not only a reference manager, but it is also an intuitive tool, very easy to use. For example, after installing F1000 workspace, if you come across an interesting article online, you just click the ‘F’ icon in your browser toolbar to save the web link, full citation data and also the PDF.

The ‘F’ button also shows the articles that you already read. So you don’t spend time on references you already read months ago.

An interesting feature called “Advice from your peers” is also available: the article recommendations from the F1000 Workspace Faculty. More than 8,000 leading scientists review and recommend the most important articles.

It works great with common tools. For example, PubMed search, you have access to the entire PubMed database, read abstracts, save and cite references from within your working document.

It allows you to search for online archives, like PubMed, as well as your own library, in the same window. Which means you can import references from the existing reference managers like Mendeley, Zotero, EndNote, RefWorks or Papers.

The cherry on the cake, your bibliography updates automatically no matter how many citations you have added. You don’t need to update it yourself!

F1000 Workspace is a collaboration-friendly tool that helps to get everyone on the same page. Thanks to specific features such as collaborative article annotation, it enables you to share your annotations, and discuss articles with your co-authors.

You can also exchange Microsoft Word documents amongst co-authors on your shared project. It will spare you the inconvenience of finding, importing and converting each other’s citations.

Finally, you can edit and merge each other’s citations. This tool allows you to carry on from where your co-authors left off.

Need help with writing or translating?

When are writing assistants needed?

Writing tools are adapting to the needs of researchers. For those who write on a regular basis, they will acknowledge how complex writing can be. You have a sentence in mind, but you are looking for a particular word that you can’t come up with. Or you want to use a word but you are not sure that it fits. Or else, you don’t want to use the exact same expression everyone else does for a particular subject.

Well, writing assistant tools are there for this.

Which one the following expression is better to use: “increasing dynamic” vs “growing dynamic”? Writing assistant tools help to solve this dilemma. Indeed they can provide information like the popularity of the expression. It is important to know how common is an expression. By using the most common alternative you increase the chance for others to find your article. This will increase your chances to get cited in future articles.

What should a writing assistant feature?

Writing assistants help researchers write their manuscript with specific features such as:

  • Entering two parts of your text and compare how often they are found in the database. Also, see how they are used in context.
  • Checking how often your selected text is found in the language database, and see how it is used in context.
  • Finding out which words are used most often in a gap in your selected text.
  • Seeing which synonyms of a given word are used most often in your selected text.
  • Translating from any language into English.
  • Hearing how your text is pronounced.

To do that they often rely on existing databases like Google’s. For instance, Google Books contains data from 5+ million books. Google Scholar contains data from academic papers and reports in a wide range of disciplines, covering 9 languages. Google Web contains data from Web pages that Google has indexed and it covers 36 languages.

The example of Writefull

Online tool (SaaS), software • For all scientific fields • Free • Made in the Netherlands

Writefull uses natural language processing and the language databases that we cited before, to give you feedback on your writing.

This tool was awarded the Catalyst Grant 2016 in Digital Science.

Writefull can be downloaded and then activated in any tool you have like Microsoft Word, Outlook, TextEdit by simply selecting a piece of text and hitting CTRL + Space.

You can choose the Google database you want to get your results from Books, Scholar (ideal for academic writing), News, or Web.

This tool tells how often a part of your text appears in the database you selected. You can use this feature to know if you used the term you selected correctly or to know if it is a popular term. It also gives a number of sentences that contain your piece of text.

Writefull also allows you to compare two pieces of text. You just need to enter them in Writefull’s search bar separated by « vs » (e.g. “increasing dynamic” vs “growing dynamic”). This feature tells you which term is most common and gives an example sentence for both.

This writing assistant enables you to know which adjective or proposition is most appropriate in a specific context. Also, sometimes we need to use synonyms to alleviate our text. In short, Writefull enables you to get the right synonyms in context. The dictionary of synonyms can also be used as a normal dictionary anytime you need a definition.

You also have access to translation from any language to English since Writefull uses Google Translate.