ReadCube Papers Beta – organising references

The ultimate purpose of academic work is to advance and disseminate knowledge. This means constantly identifying, absorbing, engaging with and eventually challenging prior academic work. There are several Mac apps that can support this process. Ideally, such an app would help to find scientific publications online, download and organise the relevant files (usually in pdf format) on local computer as well as related bibliographic meta-data (e.g. author, year of publication and title), annotate these files, and finally insert citations and bibliographies referring to this work during academic writing.

Earlier on Macademic, I wrote many entries on Papers, in my view the best academic reference and pdf management software for a Mac. However, a few years ago Papers was discontinued and started to be less compatible with new versions of macOS. As crashes became frequent, I searched for a replacement.  For a while I used Mendeley – it worked ok, but I always had a feeling that it is not an app developed with a user in mind. I also tried Sente, Zotero, BookEnds and EndNote, but nothing was comparable to Papers in its ability to organise, annotate, share and cite. Continue reading

Posted in Bibliographies, Writing | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Asana for academic collaboration

All my projects are in collaboration with other researchers. In the last year, I’ve been working with a tool that has revolutionised this collaboration: Asana. By now we’ve completed 3 publications and 3 research funding applications using Asana and currently working on 4 more projects. Asana is now forever pinned to my Safari toolbar. So it’s more than ready for a Macademic review! Continue reading

Posted in Collaboration, Writing | Tagged | 4 Comments

TaskPaper 3

I have recently completed a large grant proposal and several research manuscripts. Such sticky projects involve hundreds of details that need to be remembered: “reformat table 3”, “find the page number in reference 76”, “ask someone to rework figure 5”, “read an article that the reviewer has pointed to”. I have no idea how I would stay sane, if not for TaskPaper, my favourite app for dealing with complex projects. Continue reading

Posted in Projects, Tasks, Workflows | Tagged | 12 Comments

Citing organisations in Papers 3.0

Organisations, rather than people, often co-author reports and other materials which should be cited and referenced in scientific work. After many trials and errors, I have finally resolved how to elegantly cite organisations with long names and short acronyms using Papers 3, my pdf organisation and reference management software (extensively covered on this site).  Continue reading

Posted in Bibliographies, Writing | Tagged | 17 Comments

Annotating PDFs with Highlights

Note taking in the era of PDFs has clearly become an issue for most people working with electronic documents on a daily basis. As far as I know most reference managers now implement some form of a note taking/highlighting feature. However, we may not necessarily be happy with those built-in capabilities as they may not be well aligned with our own flavour of note taking. In this constant and incremental “apps vs. user needs” matching exercise it is nice to see new offerings with a slightly different approach. Continue reading

Posted in Annotation, Notes | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

The future of email: an empathy algorithm

Some of our most popular entries are on how to write good emails: both what to say and what not to say. But what if the computer could tell you how to tailor emails to different people? Continue reading

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BusyContacts and academic networking

Three months ago, I started using beta-version of BusyContacts, which a reader suggested in a comment to the post on organising academic contacts. Last week this software (developed by the maker of my favorite BusyCal) released the first official version. I have really enjoyed BusyContacts, which not only can replace Apple’s Contacts but can even compete with large CRMs such as Daylite. Continue reading

Posted in Contacts | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Paperless scholarship with pen and paper

There has been a paradoxical shift in my classroom and my own habits. The students have stopped asking for printed handouts but at the same time they started to take their own notes with pen and paper. Similarly, I use more pen and paper while at the same time praising the paperless office. Why is this?

Handwritten lecture notes searched in Evernote

Handwritten lecture notes imported to Evernote and searched for a specific term.

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Posted in Notes | 6 Comments

Papers 3 library searchable by Spotlight

Since my first post about Papers 3, a reference and pdf-file management software, it has significantly matured to become one of if not the best in the field. The most recent addition (version 3.2.6) has been to make a Papers 3 library indexable by Spotlight. Although documents in a Papers 3 library can be searched by FoxTrot or from within the app itself, these solutions are not ideal for searching on the fly. Now you can find Papers 3 library documents directly from Finder.

Using Spotlight to search documents in Papers 3 library

Using Spotlight to search documents in Papers 3 library

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Posted in Bibliographies, Files | Tagged , | 40 Comments

FoxTrot Professional Search

I had been trying FoxTrot Professional Search for several months before eventually deciding to buy the professional version. My initial motivation was to find a tool that could search inside Papers3 library, but I have discovered that the appeal of FoxTrot is much stronger.

Searching with FoxTrot Professional in the Papers3 library

Searching with FoxTrot Professional in the Papers3 library

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Posted in Files, Tags and folders | Tagged , | 22 Comments