I was wondering if there was a website or portal for confidentially sharing research manuscript with supervisors/collaborators whilst its being drafted. I tend to just e-mail the manuscript to my supervisors after an update which practically means multiple e-mails. I'm aware that drop box is nice for sharing files, etc and I'm also aware of mendeley. Is anybody else aware of a better way of doing this? It'll be nice to have a portal where I could just update my manuscript and supervisors/advisors could just log in and see the updated version and maybe add their comments, etc.

  • 6
    GIT, or setting up a collaboration platform like Redmine.
    – Alexandros
    Oct 15, 2015 at 12:58
  • @Alexandros, thanks, never heard of this, I'll definitely check it out.
    – John_dydx
    Oct 15, 2015 at 13:00
  • 1
    I tend to have a shared dropbox folder with students who work on a project, like you suggest.
    – damian
    Oct 15, 2015 at 13:02
  • What do you mean by "better". What are the shortcomings of e-mail that you want to fix?
    – Boris Bukh
    Oct 15, 2015 at 13:54
  • @BorisBukh, I think e-mail is ok if you have one or two supervisors/feedback to review. It can become very unmanageable when you have to review feedback from about 5 academics (or even more) for example. However, if you have any suggestions as to how this can be efficiently managed using e-mail, I would be very happy to hear from you.
    – John_dydx
    Oct 15, 2015 at 14:06

5 Answers 5


If your use case is really only about sharing a document, then it does not get much easier than Dropbox. If you are actually collaborating (more than one person is writing stuff at the same time), I would not recommend Dropbox, as it is much to easy to overwrite changes of other people. For such collaborations, I would recommend a collaborative writing platform (Overleaf if you use Latex, Windows Live if you use Microsoft Word), or a private version control repository such as Github if you feel confident using Git.

  • Thanks for your answer. I do have many collaborators so perhaps a collaborative writing platform would be better idea.
    – John_dydx
    Oct 15, 2015 at 13:19

I used to use owncloud which works basically like DropBox but you (or your administrator) have to set up the server by yourself. A pro is, that the server is under your control which may be desirable or not. A similar service is PowerFolder and I only mention this since my university offers a free cloudstorage with PowerFolder for staff and students. You may check if your university has something similar.

Anyway, you need to find something that fits the workflow of the team (i.e. you and your advisor). I suggest a version control system like git or mercurial (like other also do) but not everybody like to work like this…


Just to complement the other answers, sync is not backup...

Dropbox only keeps old files for a limited amount of time (Thanks @Christian Clason)... owncloud on the other hand does keep older versions, using some rules. It usually works. Downside is to have to manage your own server, upside is complete control over the content and who access it...

Google drive doesn't have a client for linux yet btw...

Personally, I use a combination of these. My 'current' stuff, that I'm working on privately, I keep on my owncloud (using an old laptop). Collaborative stuff on an svn at the university. Old stuff (cold storage) at google drive...


The other solution could be Google Drive...

You can directly refer to the uploaded files there, by the presented links.


Two thoughts:

  • github. It is also visible to the world, but is the hub for reproducible research.
  • Evernote. It is commercial, but private, and integrates with lots of useful technolgoies.

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