I am taking part in a project that involves several authors with so many back and forth in writing. I am curious to know what usually are digital platforms or role of thumbs in term of managing writing, edits, and comments by several authors who do not have a vast technical background and do not have time to learn new things such as GIT or LateX?

Do you prefer google documents for example or what?

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    I am not sure if 'the best' tool can be given as an objective answer, maybe the question needs to be rephrased? Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 23:51
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    Actually, you don't need the "best" platform. You need one that everyone finds useful.
    – Buffy
    Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 23:54
  • @JonasSchwarz: It doesn't need to be objective, just supportable with evidence and/or experience (likely the latter, in this case). See Good Subjective, Bad Subjective. "What is the best platform" is definitely better wording than "What are good platforms", because the latter has no way to determine a single "best" answer for the OP to accept - it's simply an unending list, and no one answer will provide a complete answer to the question. (That's my opinion on the matter, at least.)
    – user8283
    Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 7:33
  • Consider, within the solution space, if old school method works better than joint writing. Have a first author who compiles the different sections of work, manually, deals with conflicting edits, and makes final decisions.
    – guest
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 5:08

2 Answers 2


I use the following myself:

Non-technical: Google docs. Low threshold, can do basic stuff, cannot view history. Main drawback: No version control. (Also my university in principle does not allow it, but if you promise not to tell anybody...)

Technical, many collaborators: Overleaf. Can do full latex, not straightforward to go to commit history, but can be done since it is git based. I am not too fond of their interface, find it a bit clunky, but many of my collaborators really like it, so I use it anyway.

Technical, few collaborators: latex documents on private gitlab instance. This is for me the best. Commit history easily accessible, anything you want to do, can be done. Gitlab even has a builtin IDE, so you can do small edits directly in the browser. Drawback: high threshold.

This, for me, covers all use cases.

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    You can view history on Google docs. Office 365 now has a similar feature (online collaborative), so that's another option and most universities have one of the two (we actually have both, so we're at least AOK using Docs). Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 1:27
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    Google Docs does have some form of version control. You can view edit history, see who made what change when, and save named versions, and can revert to any recorded change if needed.
    – GoodDeeds
    Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 16:06
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    Thanks, then I also learned something today :-).
    – nabla
    Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 20:05

If you are in a hurry, you might want to try an online TeX editor such as Overleaf.

Another solution if you are using TeX would be to work alongside a version control system, e.g. git. Keep in mind that it takes some time to get used to it, though.

I do not know about non-TeX-solutions but i feel that a plain-text format has a couple of advantages for this kind of application.

I am looking forward to read other responses to learn about other options.

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