PhD Tales: How will the world go round without Skype and Dropbox?
Publish or Perish is an Academic community motto. Really, everyone who has been around any Academic institution long enough will be infected by the publishing bug. It is kind of addictive.
When I first started my PhD, I was astonished by how deadline driven this world is. As everyone around me told me : “After a submission deadline, is before another submission deadline!” and after a while you slowly start to get it yourself. However, this post is not really about the publishing frenzy itself. It is more about how it is done, from the tools to the output.
So you start by downloading the Latex template (or copying it from an older paper). How far is the deadline? A month maximum if it is not a resubmitted paper which you have already written down ;)
The most astonishing factor for me was the tools. I thought if there are 4–5 people collaborating on a paper we would take it all the way, create a repo, and write. But no! To be honest, I am not a fan of repos, be it Git or SVN or whatever (technical respectable persona ruined now yay :) ) I appreciate the technology, very much. It is very useful when it comes to writing code or working on a big project and collaborating with multiple members of a team. However for paper writing, what is faster than a combination of Dropbox and Skype? well, nothing beats that :)
I think how Dropbox developed through the past several years is ingenious. They keep adding new collaboration features to make it more and more like a repo, with the same easy and smooth UX. What is the role of skype? Simply a group chat where you “lock” the file you are currently working on. I have no solid claim that the majority of the Academic community is doing this, in fact I do know a lot of people who are not doing this. However, there are a lot who are. There is nothing against it. I’d say it is indeed a success for both Dropbox and Skype to be this powerful combination ever so useful in an ever so simple way.
Happy writing, submitting, and hopefully publishing!