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Group Workflow

This page will cover how we use software to coordinate our work as a group. You should feel free to use whatever workflow works best for you for your individual tasks.

Lab Manual

That's this document! We use the lab manual to document our practices, policies, and expectations. You should feel free to make a pull request to make changes as appropriate or needed.

Google Docs

Google Docs is imperfect, but it's a good collaborative word processing option. It's a lot lighter than Word cloud options, but sometimes you'll need to use those depending on your collaborators. Internally, let's use Google Docs.


Overleaf is an online LaTeX editor that includes tools for version control and collaboration. I'd generally do any LaTeX here. Note that papers don't have to be TeXed, but it can be nice, especially if there's mathematical content. We have a team account, so let Vivek know if you want in. Vivek also has some references on LaTeX (though they might be a bit old at this point) if you want to learn more.


Quarto is a system for writing and publishing documents which integrate code (in R, Python, and Julia) and Markdown. Quarto documents can be generated and published as websites, PDFs, presentations, and others. We generally won't use Quarto for paper writing, but it might be handy for certain tasks (Vivek uses it for course materials).


Slack is an asynchronous communications platform. We will use Slack for short discussions and Q&A, non-work stuff, and announcements. One of Slack's big weaknesses is threading. Try to do your best to keep things organized (use Reply in Thread rather than just another post), but if conversations are getting long, we should probably start a document in Google Docs for longer-form writing and discussion that can be more thoughtful. As mentioned in the lab manual, you don't have to respond to things immediately and should at least mute notifications on your phone if you install it on your phone at all. Something that requires prompt attention might require a text.

We do have a third-floor Riley Robb channel that our group is a part of (along with the Anderson group) for organizing events, reading group, etc.


Trello is a project management application based on Kanban boards. You don't necessarily need a Trello account, but we will use it for keeping track of paper and project pipelines and reading group.


Let's try to minimize the use of email, since checking email can consume time and create stress. Instead, use Slack for most communications, and switch to email when necessary (because other people need to be looped in, for example, or for a longer discussion).


We use Github for our group's version control and software sharing, so you need an account, even if you use an alternative like Bitbucket for your own version control. Whichever solution you pick here, using one is non-negotiable. Learn how to use git early and use it often. We will figure out what projects should be housed under the group repository versus individual repositories. Remember that repositories can be private, but need to be made public when a paper is submitted.


Vivek uses Paperpile for reference management. Use whatever software you want, but definitely use something. All of the major reference managers integrate nicely with Word and/or Google Docs and will export BibTeX databases. It can be tricky to work with multiple citation managers, so we'll figure out how to coordinate if people are using different ones.

Last update: June 26, 2023