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Colwiz - Free research collaboration software from Oxford

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Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Mar 14, 2011 at 06:34 PM

 

> ?At the moment researchers are using a dizzying array of different applications to communicate and collaborate,? said colwiz Chief Scientist Professor David Gavaghan of Oxford University. ?These might include Google Apps, Microsoft Live Services, LinkedIn, Yammer and Social Text. But because these are separate applications they don?t do everything and don?t always talk to each other, and this slows researchers down. colwiz replaces this hotchpotch with an integrated suite of tools custom-built for fast and efficient management of the research process.?


This all sounds very good, but what Professor Gavaghan doesn’t mention is _why_ researchers use all these separate applications. Is it because they want to make their life difficult? Is it because they are desperately CRIMPing for the perfect tool? Or is it simply because they enjoy many of those applications?

I am not a sociologist, but I would dare to word the following social statement: our societies are becoming ever more complex and interlinked. The research world is no longer as isolated as it once was. If it were so, all researchers would be on ResearchGate http://www.researchgate.net/ and nowhere else. But they are also on Linkedin because much of research nowadays takes place within private corporations and these researchers also want to keep their professional profile online. Many are also on Facebook because they have a life outside research. They use Google Apps because they are very convenient and powerful… etc.

Trying to provide everything in one place is in my humble opinion a lost cause in the complex world were we live. The way to go is connectivity and convergence. Yes, integration of different excellent applications may not be excellent per se, but it provides a more flexible environment than any single one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, my own firm has switched to Google Apps not because it is perfect solution, far from it; but because there is such a richness of professional applications that plug into the platform.

I appreciate that Colwiz has a Linux client; at the same time, as far as I can tell, the only integration with external applications available is with word processors. In the day of Android phones that support Google calendars out of the box, wouldn’t one expect Colwiz at least syncing with Google calendar? Or have I missed it?

 


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Mar 14, 2011 at 06:44 PM

 

Re-reading my last post, I realise it may sound quite negative for the Colwiz effort. I should clarify that while I believe that the search for the ultimate tool is futile, I do appreciate integrated environments focused on specific uses _as_long_as_ they can easily exchange information with other applications.

For example, I believe that the current range of online project manager tools available (Huddle, Glasscubes, Wizehive and many others) offers some powerful working environments. Though none of them may be perfect, most provide some way of linking to the outside world and benefit from this accordingly.

 


Posted by Dr Andus
Mar 29, 2011 at 11:00 PM

 

Wojciech wrote:
And yes, I
>am also impressed by Citavi. From my part, I?d like to suggest having a look at
>Planz:
>http://kftf.ischool.washington.edu/planner_index.htm

This software has also been mentioned on an earlier thread: http://www.outlinersoftware.com/messages/viewm/6912

Has anyone had a serious go at adopting Planz as an information overlay solution? I’d be interested in your experience. The concept sounds interesting but I wonder if it works as well in practice.

 


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