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Collaborative Academic Writing: Tools and Features

Schöch, Christof

This contribution reports on experiences made with collaborative writing in the DARIAH consortium (Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities, www.dariah.eu). DARIAH is a distributed research project involving 12 different European partners; tools supporting various collaborative writing and project coordination tasks have been used over a considerable period of time. Collaboration across geographical distance is essential for this and many other projects, but the existence of conflicting requirements of scholarly collaborative writing processes make a generic solution difficult. Among these requirements are real-time collaborative writing, flexible word-level commenting, footnote support, version control, access rights management, publishing options and open-source availability of the tool itself. Currently available technical solutions do not meet all of these requirements. Tools discussed include Etherpad, Mediawiki/Confluence, GoogleDrive, Dropbox and Wordpress. Finally, one promising solution will be discussed which is still in early stages of development, namely Penflip (www.penflip.com), a GitHub front-end for text composition.

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