Git for science: SciGit!

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 4.53.16 PMMost scientists will tell you that collaboration is key research. Virtually all research projects consist of associations of different persons with complementary skills (+ that one parasitic PI with a high-up position 🙂 ). Collaborating with your labmates is one thing, but larger scale or long distance collaborations require significant attention to track, organize, and synchronize the work. Collaboration tools for researchers can help greatly and online tools to organize experiments or share data efficiently are becoming more popular.

But when comes the times to write a publication, collaborations typically get very messy. Files names become overly complicated as the version number increases; who hasn’t had a TC_v17.1_Final2 at the end of their word documents? Files are exchanged by email, do not get send because of the size, get forgotten in the inbox or spam, and versions get swapped. Luckily SciGit, a version control tool for publication writing has recently went live! Inspired by the hugely success GitHub, the tool advertises three essential functionalities:

  1. Collaborate without mess.
  2. Supports your editor.
  3. Safe and secure.

In sum, with SciGit you can easily track document versions and easily visualize edits while continuing to use your usual off-line text editor such as Microsoft Word. The modifications to the documents can be tracked either online or through the free desktop client (only available for windows at the moment). Deletions are simply highlighted in red and additions in green. The documents are automatically uploaded to the cloud in a safe and secured location with tight control over who can view the documents.

The tools is still in beta and seems to have space to evolve. But keep and open mind and give it a try! Comments are welcome 🙂

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