Authorea User Spotlight: Jenna Morgan Lang

The Authorea Team

What is the main takeaway from your current research and why is it important?

Microbes rule the world!

Prior to using Authorea, what issues would you encounter when writing research with collaborators?

Worst case scenario: we were emailing Word docs around. Changes would be scattered throughout multiple versions, and it would be a huge headache to sort them all out at the end. Best case scenario, we'd work together on a Google Doc, but I HATE google docs. Formatting in them is frustrating, and adding images inline is annoying. The default view, which everyone else seems to prefer has annoyingly large margins, and I found scrolling through pages to be super clunky. I know that there are alternative views, but they are all unappealing to me. Writing does not come naturally to me, and having everything shoved into one unwieldy document was a serious psychological barrier for me.

Has Authorea helped with remedying some of those issues? How?

Authorea is perfect for me. I love how I can chunk my writing into independent sections; they are easy to maneuver through, using the index on the left. I love that I can just drag and drop sections when I want to change the order. Getting started is easy - instead of making an outline and watching it expand into a big mess, I just create a block for each section of my text. I don't know why, but that makes it so much easier for me to tackle one section at a time. Adding images and tables is a breeze, and the fact that the captions travel automatically with the images is great because I like to write with them inline, but for some journals, they have to be submitted all together at the end. None of these are actually issues related to "collaborative" writing - Authorea just helps me write. And, when I convince collaborators to give it a try with me, they also find that it makes writing easier for them.

What has inspired you to promote open science and how would you explain its importance to a young researcher?

I can't stress enough how valuable an open approach to science has been for me. I share my experiences, data, protocols, even my lab notebooks online. I have never been scooped or stolen from in any way. But, I have helped many researchers avoid reinventing the wheel, I have started many new collaborations, shared resources, received advice and help when I run into problems. Because I'm open about what I'm up to, I have been able to work with groups who have similar research interests to make sure that we are dovetailing our efforts rather than duplicating them or competing with each other. My social and professional networks and opportunities have grown because I do open science. The science I do is better science because it is open science. For sure. No question about it.

When you're not Science-ing, what are you doing for fun?

Whenever I get a chance, I play poker. Mostly Texas Hold'em.
To keep up with Jenna, check out her current projects and follow her "infrequently updated blog", Jennomics.

[Someone else is editing this]

You are editing this file