Sharing Manuscripts: DropBox vs. Google Documents

Publish or perish. Publish or perish. Publish or perish ..?

That’s the line we learn very quickly and academia. publications serve many purposes. 1st, they get science out in the hands of other scholars and researchers. For purposes of this blog, however, published articles will get you tenure and show what you have been working on. This is crucial for earning a good wage, and securing a long and vibrant academic career.

I’m working on my 1st manuscript, several of which I am lead author, and having considering ways to share drafts with my co-authors. I don’t like the idea of e-mailing documents back and forth with each other. At any given moment I want to know how much we have written and what it looks like. If we e-mail documents back and forth, we will inevitably start working on an old manuscript. This end, I’ve been exploring Dropbox and Google Documents.

Dropbox and Google Documents each have their own features and people and discuss them all over the place.

Dropbox is convenient because you can share any document between multiple computers. For example we could charter documents with your home computer and your work computer, either of those computers and a colleague, or all of the above. Dropbox is easy to use as it looks just like everything else Erie there is however a limitation with dropbox. You can work on documents at the same time, and it is possible we will work on different versions of a document.

Unlike Dropbox, Google documents does not use file system. Instead, your  “files”,  are stored in an online in your Google documents folder, and have to be exported for submitting them in final versions.  This is actually rather convenient, because you always know which version is up-to-date (the version you are working on at any given point), can work on documents at the same time, and you can easily share documents with any other individual assuming that they have a Google account (and these days who doesn’t). I’ve noticed, however, that some more traditional academics and parentheses e.g. Older academics) do not feel as comfortable working with Google documents. Furthermore, you have to have online access to work on the documents, a big bummer if you are flying across country, or in a rural area, or your Internet simply goes down. I have yet to test how citations work once they are included, but I hope to have an answer for you all soon.

So which do you use and why? Had ever use Google documents with a reference manager such as an out or ref works? How do they work? The publishers enjoy working with this format? The more a pain in the end? Let me know what you think.