Trello for Researchers: 3 Powerful Use Cases

Whenever people would ask me what I do for a living and I answered “I’m a biologist,” I always had the impression they had no idea what that actually meant. People assume you sit in the grass observing ants or read books in a quiet library all day.

The reality is quite different. Chances are you work on several projects at the same time, collaborate with people around the world, write papers and grant applications, and spend your days in meetings, giving presentations, or even managing a whole lab. Being a scientist is not different from any other highly demanding job that requires one to be productive and organized. Many software products have arisen to help fulfill this need, so there’s no shortage of project management, productivity and collaboration tools available.

However, it’s interesting to see that scientists rarely make use of these tools. Adapting your workflow to fit with some complicated piece of software is just too tedious. Even worse, convincing all your collaborators to change their workflows seems impossible. In the end, the technology of choice is e-mail, with endless conversations and documents being sent back and forth.

Trello is a refreshingly different tool. It’s flexible enough to do exactly what you want, and yet so simple that all of your collaborators will easily learn to use it well. It’s mainly used by businesses and software developers, but Trello works great for researchers too. Here are 3 Trello uses you shouldn’t miss: it can help you organize your next workshop, hire your next lab member and get your next collaborative project done on time.

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Research Productivity: How Business Apps Make the Best Tools for Researchers

Business apps that make researchers more productive

Our goal here at Paperpile is to increase productivity of researchers. We build software that makes it easier to organize and write academic papers.

We’ve often wondered what else we can do to help researchers work smarter and be more productive. The answer, we found, is surprisingly simple. It’s all about choosing the right tools. So today, we’re launching a 5-part blog post series introducing a hand-picked selection of productivity tools that all researchers need to know.

Chances are you already know some of these tools. Chances are also that you know somebody who knows none of them… So please share and help spread the word.

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Google Docs ♥ Paperpile

Google Docs add-on

It’s been nearly two years since we released the first public version of Paperpile, a reference manager built from scratch for the web. During this time, Paperpile has grown into a fully featured tool used by thousands of researchers every day to find, collect, manage, read, annotate, share and write papers, boosting their academic productivity.

Today, we’re delighted to announce the release of a free fully featured citation manager as a standalone product that works with Google Docs, enabling you to collaboratively write papers and grants. Now everyone can add citations and bibliographies to a Google Doc, no account or sign-up is required.

Add our citation app in one click from the Google Docs add-on store!

Writing a paper in Google Docs the Paperpile way works like this:

  1. Install the Google Docs add-on
  2. Invite your colleagues to your documents and ask them to install the add-on.
  3. Add citations, here’s our cheat sheet

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Cite everything – with confidence

Works Cited

With Paperpile, citing journal articles and books has always been simple and straightforward. However, over time our support forum and inbox filled up with questions like: “How do I cite a medieval manuscript?” or “How do I cite an ISO standard?”.

We’ve updated Paperpile’s data model with two goals in mind: (i) remove any limitations and allow users with advanced requirements to correctly store and cite any research material they want and (ii) keep things simple and don’t introduce complexity for anyone else.

We also added support for citations in other languages than English. For example, a German student can write a Bachelor’s thesis in German and reformat citations and the bibliography with one click to submit it to an English language journal. Here are all the details.

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Why web startups for researchers should charge their users

Free hugs and deluxe hugs. Image source:

Last week Impactstory announced their new paid subscription model. Changing a service from free to paid is a big step and there was some discussion on Twitter about it. We decided from day one to run Paperpile as a paid subscription service and only had good experiences with this model so far.

We are lucky to be in a position that we don’t have to write this post to convince our users that paying for Paperpile is a good idea. They found out by themselves. But we want to take the opportunity to share our experiences and encourage other startup companies in our space to follow the example of Impactstory. We’ve found that charging for our product is good for us and our users. Here’s why.

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Improved Google Docs citations with Paperpile

Google docs citations

When we started Paperpile at the end of last year, our goal was to make Google Docs a first class tool to write academic papers. Earlier this year, we were excited to see the first papers that were entirely written in Google Docs and Paperpile  to be accepted for publication. Students have written their thesis with Paperpile and we know of users who have started writing books in Google Docs.

However, some missing features made it hard for some users to fully switch. With some recent additions to Google Docs and Paperpile, these limitations are gone.  5 key updates make it easier than ever to use Google Docs to write your next report, paper, thesis or book.

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Google Docs in the University: a Q&A with students from UCC Hillerød, Denmark

Students editing collaboratively a Google Doc

Mathias, Morgan, Francis, and Stasa collaborated on their thesis project using Google Docs and Paperpile.

Soon after our launch in October 2013 we were contacted by a group of students from UCC Hillerød, Denmark about using Paperpile to write their final thesis project in Google Docs. Since they would only be using Paperpile for a few months, we created a special short-term group license for them and left them to their work.

A few months later we noticed a sudden spike in usage from Denmark, with a few users furiously adding citations and formatting their documents late into the night for days on end. Immediately we knew: our plucky group of students were wrapping up their thesis, using Google Docs and Paperpile to get things ready to print before the Christmas holidays!

We recently caught up with Mathias, Stasa, Morgan and Francis to congratulate them on their successful project and ask a few questions about their experience writing a group project with Paperpile.

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