in WriteLaTeX

Google Docs for Science – a short introduction to WriteLaTeX


Most of the world’s technological and medical innovations began with a scientific paper — there are now over two million scientific papers published every year, and many more technical reports and presentations. As scientists, we spend a lot of time writing, reviewing and publishing these papers, and whilst the Internet has drastically improved how they’re published and distributed, writing (and collaborating) is still difficult. With WriteLaTeX we’re helping to change that.

WriteLaTeX is a real-time collaborative writing platform which lets you create, edit & share your scientific ideas easily online using LaTeX, a powerful tool for scientific publishing. My co-founder John Lees-Miller created writeLaTeX to address the problems we experienced ourselves when writing papers collaboratively, in particular in the fields of mathematics, physics and computer science. We both have backgrounds in mathematics so naturally used LaTeX but when working with co-authors in different countries and different disciplines, there was no easy solution – so John created one!


Since its original launch in September 2011, writeLaTeX has been growing in popularity, and I joined John in late 2012 to help develop the service further to better meet the needs of its users. We think we’re on the right track — we’ve continued to grow rapidly in 2013, with tens of thousands of academics and students in hundreds of universities worldwide now using writeLaTeX for papers, assignments, presentations and more.

Where do we see this going? There is a current focus on opening up scientific publishing, to make it easier for scientists in all disciplines to publish their work online,  in open access journals and repositories. Earlier this year we linked our service to figshare (one such open access repository), so writeLaTeX authors can instantly publish their work online.


By creating documents in the cloud on writeLaTeX and seamlessly making them citable, sharable and discoverable on figshare, the whole academic publication process can be completed in a browser. Both services are free and can help any academic create and share their research in a way which was not previously achievable…(read more on the figshare blog)


Through continuing integration with publishers, we aim to make WriteLaTeX part of a complete and integrated cloud-based approach to academic publishing — look out for updates and announcements on the WriteLaTeX blog, and if you have any comments please do get in touch (tweet to @writelatex or send us a message).

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