My flow for refereeing papers

18/02/2008

For some bizarre reason, decease in the last week I have become very popular as referee for journals, medicine Ph.D. theses and industry reports. I am in need of seriously streamlining my workflow these ‘for the good of science’ type of activities, viagra because I can allocate only a fairly limited time to them. Thus, I need:

  1. Something that reads PDF documents (all documents that I am receiving come as PDF).
  2. Hopefully no printing involved, because there is no much point on keeping around copies of draft documents.
  3. Full screen, so it is easy to read documents and avoids distraction.
  4. An easy way to keep track of annotations.
  5. Cheap, remember that this is for the good of humanity.

A quick web search pointed to Skim, which fits the bill in all points (including the last point: free). There are more powerful applications (like the full version of Adobe Acrobat), but I can not see the point of the expense. A nice (30 euros) alternative is Papers, which in addition of facilitating ’studying’ or reading from PDFs, it is quite good at organising PDFs. Last time I checked the program it could only search and import documents from PubMed (in addition to local documents). However, it seems that now it also works with Web of Science (that I use the most), Google Scholar (which I rarely use) and a few others.

So, the way things work now when I am refereeing is:

  1. PDF is read in Skim.
  2. Notes are directly inserted in Skim.
  3. Type my comments to the journal in TextEdit in rich text format (RTF). This is to avoid wasting time tweaking the document. I still used Word for writing papers and reports.
  4. Print and mail a PDF version to the journal.

And that’s it. It certainly makes things a lot less painful for me.

Filed in productivity, software, writing

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