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5 collaborative writing tools

July 23, 2014

collaborateAfter examining several tools used by researchers in colleges and universities, Christof Schöch of the University of Würzburg (Germany) came up with a recommended list of Five collaborative writing tools for academics. His article provides details, but here’s a quick summary:

  1. Google Docs – I you’re not already familiar, here’s a video and some help.
  2. Etherpad – a basic text editor. Use a public instance like the free one at or create your own server.
  3. Mediawiki – the software that runs Wikipedia. You’ll need a web host like iPage for this, or you can install it on a server.
  4. Penflip –  based on GitHub, a collaborative coding platform. Two problems it aims to solve are accessing previous versions and bringing parts of a project together. It’s free for public projects or you can pay for support and more space.
  5. FidusWriter – for academics who need to use citations and/or formulas. It focuses on the content rather than layout. Log into the test server or download and install the open source software.

I have used the first three quite a bit, and have recently settled on Google Docs as my own collaborative tool of choice. Penflip looks very interesting, though.

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