My friend and collaborator Chris Krycho is beginning work on a massive note-taking/referencing managing/word-processing/document formatting tool aimed at making things easier for writers of academic research, and he’s keeping people updated via email. (It’s temporarily called rewrite.) The goal is to replace the hodgepodge collection of research tools that each academic uses with a single piece of software that integrates all parts of the research process.
Instead of cramming academic writing into pre-existing tools, this project aims to make tools for writers of research first and foremost; just that approach alone made me excited. The software will be in the same space as Nota Bene; it will take a different approach to the all-in-one research software than that one does.
I am on the Researchers’ Advisory Board for this project because I routinely bang my head against the UI and functionality limitations of Microsoft Word and the frustrations of EndNote integration with Word, which this promises to replace. Anyone else who struggles with these limitations when trying to write research prose (or manipulate figures/charts/graphs, yikes yikes yikes) may be interested in this project.
My current contributions as part of the Researchers’ Advisory Board are to give feedback on ideas that Chris (and his team, once the project grows to that point) are mulling about from the perspective of a user, suggest ideas that might make the software more usable for academics, and discuss the other board members’ ideas to the same end. Later, I expect to be testing the functionality and user experience of the software as well.
No matter what comes out of it, I’m excited that academic researchers are the intended audience. That approach alone will make the project valuable. This is an enormous project, and Chris Krycho knows it. But even if it takes a few years, hey, what’s a few years between academics?