Posting here rather than on StackOverflow as the question is not code-related.

I have been wanting to make the switch to RMarkdown for academic writing (as opposed to Word) for a while now, but there is one question that has prevented me from doing so. Does writing in RMarkdown permit exchange of reviews and comments with collaborators/supervisors?

I understand that .doc output is an option and I can just send this file across for comments, but if I were to receive a draft back with many changes and comments, how do I accept/reject those changes easily as in Word (with the click of a button)? Is manually making the changes in the .rmd file the only option? If so, can this workflow not become inefficient in the long run? How do people deal with this issue?

  • 2
    Use LaTeX on Overleaf.
    – astronat
    Mar 26, 2021 at 12:34
  • 1
    Thanks for the suggestion, but switching to RMarkdown is in itself a step for me, so I don't think LaTeX is an option right now. I guess solutions like Overleaf exist because of the LaTeX paradigm in some fields? Are there similar options for RMarkdown? And I am curious how people in non-LaTeX fields using RMarkdown deal with this issue when exchanging with colleagues/supervisors. Mar 26, 2021 at 12:41

2 Answers 2

  • In principle you can use Markdown on Overleaf (tl;dr; with a few "wrapper" lines in LaTeX at the beginning and end, the body of the document can be in Markdown format), but the RMarkdown layer would be an extra challenge (that is, if you actually have R code embedded in your document).
  • There is an interesting possibility here but it's unstable (I know the author but haven't used it). You could give it a whirl (maybe try it out with a collaborator who's up for a small adventure) and see if it seems OK for your needs. It's supposed to handle bidirectional conversion from Word tracked changes to Critic Markup.

I don't personally have a good solution for this; I either suffer the burden of propagating changes back from marked-up Word or PDF, or work with people who can handle (R)Markdown or LaTeX.

  • Yes, the R code would be an integral part so I think the first option won't work. redoc though looks very interesting! (I was not aware of officedown either.) I will come back to it for sure, thank you! But at the same time, perhaps making the changes manually isn't so bad after all, as it can happen even if using Word (say, if you have made further progress on the draft in the time it took for the comments to get to you) and in that case, plain text might be the lesser of the evils! Mar 26, 2021 at 16:46

For collaborative writing in Markdown, you could use Manubot.

I don't think there is a good versioning system (which would be indispensable for efficient collaborations) with RMarkdown as of now.

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