The Problem
I am a graduate student in a research lab with several other students, and as such we're all pursuing research and dissertation topics that are at least generally related in nature. We sometimes find papers relevant to others' topics during lit reviews, and right now we're just pushing them into a shared Google Drive folder.

That works fine, but the problem is that we don't really have a way to notify the relevant students when a paper is put into a specific folder (it's a fair-size lab with several students, and we're already drowning in noise emails ... we're not thrilled about adding more and basically CCing everyone the article touches).

The Question
We're looking for a service that essentially pushes a once-daily changelog of the filenames of added papers and the directories they've been committed to, sending them to the email addresses of all students in the lab (so that everyone can look over the daily list and skim it for anything interesting).

Does anyone know if such a thing exists? Or do you perhaps have an idea to help us out of our management woes?


  • Can't you use a collaborating tool like Trello? Every time you upload a new paper on your repository, you grab the link and add a post to the students' Trello project and all people (or the students you want) get notified by email. – Alexandros Oct 13 '15 at 18:09
  • Are you sure file update notifications are the way to go about this? In various institutes I am familiar with (and this includes institutes with more than 50 people), a regular internal colloquium where everyone takes turns at presenting their current research ensures that everyone has a rough idea of everyone else's research topics. Even if individual people do not get notified about individual publications like this, you usually know where to ask if you suspect previous publications on any topic to exist. – O. R. Mapper Oct 14 '15 at 9:35
  • If you wish to stick with sharing files at the core, are you looking for an external or an internal solution? The reason I ask is that it strikes me as very unusual to rely on an external entity (Google in this case) as an intermediate node of communication within your own local lab, rather than using an own server for this purpose that you are guaranteed to control yourself (even if only the simplest form of file sharing is provided by making a sharing directory on one computer in the network accessible to everyone, without any form of version control, fine-grained access restrictions, etc.). – O. R. Mapper Oct 14 '15 at 9:39
  • @O.R.Mapper hah! A few years ago, I'd have agreed, but now that all of my university's email resides on Microsoft's servers...... – Flyto Oct 14 '15 at 11:24
  • @SimonW: That strikes me as just as unusual (and would most probably be illegal at my place, but privacy laws differ from country to country). – O. R. Mapper Oct 14 '15 at 11:29

The simplest solution to this problem that I can think of is just to use Mendeley (or service with similar functionality) that allows people to form groups (public or private), based on their research interests. Then, all activity, such as adding relevant papers, etc., automatically appears on group members' news "wall", plus they can set up e-mail notifications and such. For more details, see corresponding Mendeley's pages: https://www.mendeley.com/features/collaborate and https://www.mendeley.com/groups.

Obviously, solutions for more complicated research workflows will require more specialized software tools: open source, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) or custom built.

| improve this answer | |

Your problem is connected with creating of the Institutional_repository.

An institutional repository is an archive for collecting, preserving, and disseminating digital copies of the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution.

DSpace is a software which helps you to organize an institutional repository.

| improve this answer | |

Papers has functionality similar to this with "Papers Livfe", which allows you to create an online collection of papers with their attendant PDFs etc. and publish it online. You can restrict access to it to "Anyone" or invited people, so presumably you'd simply invite all the members of your lab.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Livfe? Does it have something to do with covfefe? ;) – Federico Poloni Nov 28 '17 at 8:43

Maybe you should ask someone who knows how to use the Unix command line. It looks like it can be done in a fully automated way with a three-line script (ls with output redirected to a file + diff + mail + cron).

| improve this answer | |

Another idea: create a yahoo group. Make sure to allow attachments. Each student in your group should subscribe to the yahoo group, with Daily Digest mode. Each time you want to put an article in the shared repository, simply email it to the yahoo group, with a brief description in the body of the email.

I believe you can organize the attachments in a file structure.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.