Tools for remote research collaboration

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By the USIU-Africa Library Office

Remote working—or flexible working arrangements—is becoming increasingly popular in scientific research, driven by both social trends and advances in technology. In the past, major benefits have been the ability to continue careers while starting families or avoiding the stress of moving for a temporary position. COVID-19 has seen a marked reduction in working face to face. Many researchers cognizant of the value collaboration brings into research work, have embraced a number of approaches and tools. Here are 4 tools that you could consider using to strengthen collaboration in your work:
1. LabArchives Digital Research Notebooks
LabArchives is a cloud-based electronic lab notebook that can be used by researchers, instructors and students for input and organization of laboratory data, information sharing and collaboration, and for saving historical versions of files. It is appropriate for use in a wide variety of laboratories, including biological sciences and chemistry. LabArchives offers versioning for all entries in the notebook, documenting who made a change, what change was made, and when it was made. It allows for reverting back to earlier drafts.

2. Open Science Framework (OSF)
An OSF platform for researchers can be used to create public projects such as collaboration wikis and components for research questions, data collection and analysis protocols, and data. OSF is free, open to support your research and enable collaboration.

3. Covidence
Covidence is a web-based software platform that streamlines the production of systematic reviews. It is easy to learn. The collaboration is seamless allowing the entire team to collaborate from anywhere and suitable for all levels of experience.

4. Overleaf
Use Overleaf for collaborative writing. It offers real-time track changes, unlimited collaborators, and full document history. It can be linked to other services such as reference managers to best fit into your workflow.

Other research resources offered at the Library
In a bid to improve our offering to you, the Library has recently acquired additional research resources to expand its database. These include:

  • Grant’s Dissection Videos and Medical Embryology Animations: Organized by body region, each dissection video includes narration by Dr. Alan Detton and on-screen labeling and text. The videos show students what they are expected to achieve in lab, the steps required for each dissection, and the information they need to learn for practical exams. The embryology animations include 9 high-resolution 3D animations, averaging five minutes each, with narration and on-screen labeling. They cover key areas of development.
  • Psychotherapy Video Library, which currently contains 321 teaching and training videos in psychotherapy, counseling and addiction treatment conducted by renowned counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers.
  • Sage Research Methods Cases contains more than 400 specially commissioned cases of real social research which provide practical real-world examples of methods in action; an exploration of difficulties, nuances and real-life decisions researchers have to make; and examples of how methods are used within specific disciplines. The cases are searchable by research method, discipline or academic level.

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