I had some fun over at Real Scientists DE this week and wanted to use this opportunity to ask researchers, which tools they find the most useful to add to my list.
Why it’s great for research: It increases research reproducibility and transparency, facilitates collaboration, enables you to get feedback early on (or whenever you’re ready for it). GitHub takes a while getting used to (I am becoming more familiar it at the moment), but everybody swears it is worth it and wishes they had started sooner. Take a look at the Open Science MOOC Module 5: Open Research Software and Open Source to get you started.
Git kann mit docx umgehen – und nimmt bei Bedarf Word als diff-tool. War sehr hilfreich beim mergen von Korrekturen
— Ste Fanb (@ste_fanb) July 27, 2018
2. R Markdown
What it is: R Markdown is a format for writing reproducible, dynamic reports. R Markdown files are written in Markdown, which is a simple markup language for formatting plain text. This Cheat Sheet gives an overview of how it works.
Why it’s great for research: R Markdown documents allow you to easily weave text and code together and are fully reproducible. You can also get your documents in various formats like HTML, PDF, or Word.
What it is: Unpaywall is a browser plugin that enables you to easily (i.e., instantly) find Open Access versions of otherwise paywalled research papers.
Why it’s great for research: That should be pretty much self-explanatory, but on top of that Unpaywall also only gathers content from legal sources.
What it is: Zotero is an open source citation manager.
Why is it great for research? When I first started using Zotero I thought “How did I ever live without you?” because it makes it ridiculously easy to keep track of your references and format them correctly. Zotero comes as an online platform, stand-alone software, browser plugin, and Word addon – and they all sync!! The browser plugin lets you collect articles with one click, which you can then organize through the Web or desktop app, and easily add to your Word document (with your preferred citation style).
Why it’s great for research: Overleaf provides a range of different templates, such as academic journals, project and lab reports, and theses, and makes formatting a breeze (once you understand how it works). Another cool feature is that you can see the final version of your paper as you type. Citation managers like Zotero, CiteULike, and Mendeley are also integrated with the writing tool.
What it is: ORCiD provides you with a persistent digital identifier to distinguish you from other researchers.
Why it’s great for research: ORCiD is not just great to identify researchers, which can be difficult with common names or name changes (e.g., due to marriage), but it also gives you a place to showcase your academic profile. Plus, it is super easy to add information to your profile, such as education, employment, publications, funding, and contact details.
7. Google Scholar Alerts and Feedly
What it is: Through Google Scholar you can set alerts to receive notifications about new content based on your chosen keywords. Feedly lets you create RSS feeds, updating in real-time, for any news source, blogs, or journals.
Why it’s great for research: Both of these tools are really useful to stay on top of current research in your field.
8. Preprint Server/Repositories
What it is: Preprint servers and repositories are online archives that allow you to make your research papers Open Access by depositing a copy of the manuscript (Check Sherpa/Romeo to find out which version you are allowed to share).
Why it’s great for research: Self-archiving enables you to reach the widest possible audience, increases your chances of getting cited, and receive feedback early on. Social scientists, take a look at SocArXiv!
What it is: Podcasts are basically radio shows on the internet.
Why it’s great for research: Personally, I find podcast awesome for a range of reasons: they are my favorite running companion (and let me find my natural speed easily), they inform me about topics I previously was unfamiliar with, they reignited my love for political science (which got a bit damped after the 2016 US elections), and they are great to unwind. Here are some of my favorite podcasts: The Ezra Klein Show, Serial, FoundMyFitness by Rhonda Patrick, The Tim Ferris Show, and Worldly. (I’m always happy to learn about new podcasts!!
What it is: A social media platform.
Why it’s great for research: Twitter is great to disseminate your research, to learn about current developments, to find collaborators, as well as for public and interdisciplinary engagement.