How to optimise remote working between a guide and a researcher

In recent times, remote working has created a lot of hurdles in collaboration between a guide and a researcher. It is challenging for researchers to freely share their ideas and get feedback on their writing. This collaboration and feedback loop has become a time-consuming process of either being communicated through a million emails or written in tools not fit for research writing. These tools invariably introduce errors either through lost citations, misunderstood comments, or accidental edits. 

As an institution, you can speed up the process and identify an efficient tool to optimise the collaboration between guides and researchers. So let’s get into it.

Step 1: Identify an online platform for academic writing

Let’s look at the problems the researchers and mentors are facing right now. The researchers have to write in a word doc and send it to their guides for review and correction. Then, the guides will add comments and suggestions to the doc and send it back to researchers. After which, the researchers will have to incorporate the new edits and changes to the doc. This is a tiresome process, where the visibility and transparency of activities are non-existent!

Alternatively, they write on a browser based writing tool. Now the guides and researchers are working on the same doc. The free tools only offer limited features and are not designed for academic writing. The researchers might not be able to annotate the exact point and it would be hard to cite your references while you write.

Your guides and researchers need an online platform where they can write and co-write effectively as well as manage references easily. The platform should also have a content manager, so even though there are multiple writers on a research paper, all images, docs, references, tables, and equations are recorded and kept safe. 

Step 2: Eliminate the time taken to review and give feedback

We know guides are busy people. They are mentoring researchers as well as conducting research of their own. It is hard for them to keep track of all the docs they are receiving for review as well as effectively convey their feedback to the researchers. 

They need a platform that will give them a bird’s eye view of the status of their research. They should be able to view their researchers’ writing in real-time, and add comments and make edits as required. Moreover, they need an editor that allows them to add targeted comments on sections of the research paper that need edits, and also eliminates any uncertainty or possibility of introducing errors. 

Moreover, the platform has to be online so that all comments, corrections, and suggestions are updated in real-time to avoid a never-ending email thread that just builds confusion in researchers as well as guides.

Step 3: Adopt an effective research communication tool

How many screenshots can researchers send through WhatsApp to clarify their doubts? What if both researcher and the guide forget to rectify one error they identified and discussed on WhatsApp or call but forgot to change it in their paper? Or maybe the research paper has multiple contributors and a WhatsApp group is just a platform that will end up confusing the contributors. As we all know, good communication is key to most things, it is also the key to a well-written research paper. 

Your guides and researchers need a communication platform that is connected to the content they are writing. They should be able to chat about a paragraph right on the editor and clarify doubts by raising in-text comments, so that no query gets overlooked. The platform should be content-centric and all actions should be tied to the content. Save your researchers time by also ensuring that the chat option, if available, is capable of conveying messages to multiple people so that all collaborators are updated.

What’s next?

Now you know that to optimise this process, you need to provide your researchers with a tool that will improve their research writing productivity. This platform should facilitate transparency by letting you know the status of all research papers being written in your institution, to identify and avoid the bottlenecks.

You can do all of this and more on AuthorCafé!

AuthorCafé is a browser-based platform designed for academic research for institutions and researchers. It enables institutions to digitally track and report their research activity, and enhance academic standing and productivity. Researchers can write, collaborate, and communicate their research effectively using this platform.

See a demo of AuthorCafé!


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