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Questions tagged [software]

Queries related to various software used in academia. Questions shall not address highly technical aspects of the software but shall address features/issues highly relevant to academia. For questions concerning computer code written or used in the context of a research project or other academic endeavour (including questions on licensing, ownership, sharing, distribution, and formatting of academic source code), use the `code` tag instead.

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286
votes
18answers
33k views

Should I share my horrible software?

After I had published my paper, some people asked me to share the software that I developed. At first, I was very happy that my paper attracted some attention, and I was happy to share not only the ...
153
votes
12answers
18k views

Why are papers without code but with results accepted?

I just started reading some papers (Computer Science, specifically Computer Vision) and thought "now let's look at the source code" and was quite astonished that most of the papers don't have any ...
152
votes
14answers
24k views

Why do many talented scientists write horrible software?

I am a software engineer and I have been working with people with academic backgrounds for several years. Many times, I've noticed that (even otherwise brilliant scientists) produce code of extremely ...
112
votes
13answers
99k views

Software to draw illustrative figures in papers [closed]

I would like to have suggestions of good software for drawing illustrations in research papers. I already know about Xfig, but this works only on Linux and is at times, clunky when it comes to text. ...
84
votes
14answers
36k views

Can a lecturer force you to learn a specific programming syntax / language?

My class is currently further learning our relational database / SQL as part of the course. The lecturer we have currently is restricting us to learning specifically Oracle SQL syntax rather than ...
84
votes
12answers
12k views

Is it ethical to use proprietary (closed-source) software for scientific computation?

I have data from an ordinary scientific experiment. Now, in order to analyse the data, the most convenient way for me is to use some proprietary, closed-source software. Is it ethical to use such ...
71
votes
7answers
12k views

Why use version control systems for writing a paper?

I am following the advice of @Piotr Migdal in Is there an internet Git-like repository for collaboration on a paper?, and I want to ask about version controls: how beneficial are they (specially under ...
71
votes
12answers
10k views

Why do faculty use the software “Blackboard”?

It is becoming apparent to me that, outside my field, use of Blackboard and other LMS software is becoming extremely common. Indeed, a rash of technical problems here is making it apparent students ...
71
votes
8answers
21k views

Free, open-source substitutes for Mendeley?

Mendeley is (mainly) a proprietary social network to share basic citation data and research papers. see also Are there any free and open source substitutes for this service? A technical possibility:...
71
votes
13answers
17k views

Is there any efficient non-linear note-taking software?

I'd be interested in tools helping to organize thoughts and ideas, especially in a non-linear way (i.e. not as most existing note taking tools, working with lists and bullets, but rather as a post-it ...
69
votes
6answers
13k views

Popular software used in research is incorrectly reporting solution is optimal: what to do?

I have an example demonstrating the solution produced by a popularly used software package is not the optimal solution, despite the software claiming that it is. Several recent papers published from ...
61
votes
15answers
78k views

Software to use for creating posters for academic conferences?

And how much time does it usually take? I'd like to create a poster without having to put too much time into formatting.
61
votes
9answers
19k views

Is it immoral to show new students how to use Wolfram Alpha?

Currently, I'm working as an assistant at the mathematics department of my university. My job consists of sitting for 20 hours a week in an office to which students come with doubts regarding all the ...
57
votes
7answers
3k views

Popular proprietary program or obscure open source substitute for reproducible research?

For a long time, I had been using open source software for my work to boost "reproducible research". I believed that if I made my codes open source and the softwares to run those codes in were open ...
55
votes
14answers
31k views

Lab colleague uses cracked software. Should I report it?

I've just (accidentally) found that one of our colleagues in the lab (who is a graduate student) uses a cracked piece of software on his personal laptop (We were talking near his station and a pop up ...
48
votes
4answers
10k views

Should I cite all R packages I used?

Intro: R is a open-source software tool for statistical analyses and graphics, which is heavily used in different science disciplines and which is becoming more and more popular (although it is ...
44
votes
12answers
9k views

Do résumés written in LaTeX show more promise when applying to graduate schools?

I am a computer science student from India. I noticed that most of the résumés and thesis papers etc. I see are written in LaTeX. If I write my résumé in Word (say) rather than LaTeX, will it have a ...
43
votes
6answers
33k views

Is it mandatory to include the registered trademark symbol ® next to the name of a computer program?

Suppose you write a paper and you use Wolfram Mathematica to do calculations. In the article, should the program be mentioned with the registered-trademark symbol immediately following the name and in ...
41
votes
6answers
33k views

Software for extracting data from a graph without having to click on every single point?

There are many times when I am faced with the task of extracting data from a published graph (usually a bitmap image in an paper). For example, a scatter plot from which I would like to get a list of ...
40
votes
7answers
8k views

A team member of a coursework software development project didn't contribute in any way. Can I remove his name from the project?

I am the project manager of a small team of five undergraduate developers who have been working for months on a large system for our Senior Capstone project. Four members of the team, including myself,...
40
votes
6answers
4k views

Should I write a paper on open-source software I've built?

I have been fairly active in the open-source software community with a few projects that have gotten some attention. However, my reputation in the academic/publications world is a little bit low and I'...
40
votes
7answers
3k views

Are there specific organizational processes or tools (not necessarily software) that can help in developing and structuring research ideas?

I am doing research in computer Science as a PhD student. I have some research ideas and for months I've been continuously thinking about them, developing them and make them more specific. I mean, ...
39
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there an internet Git-like repository for collaboration on a paper?

I've just started using git for tracking changes in a LaTeX paper I'm writing, and for collaboration with co-authors. However, I cannot find easily private git repositories with reasonable plans for ...
36
votes
10answers
9k views

How can I sell independently created software to my university?

I am in a situation that I think is not uncommon nowadays. I wrote software on my own time, by my own decision, and with my own resources during my undergrad career at a university in the US, and ...
35
votes
6answers
7k views

Software/App for electronic research notebooks

I want to keep a research notebook for my computational "experiments". Basically, I should at least be able to write text and attach images like plots. Other nice features to have would be linking to ...
34
votes
4answers
13k views

How should I reference my Github repository with materials for my paper?

I am writing a paper describing some of the research I have done. As part of my work I have developed an open-source library and made it available on Github. How should I link to it? Should I cite ...
34
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do some journals prefer MS Word?

Some journals (specifically on biology or chemistry) accept only MS Word files as manuscripts, while many journals on mathematics or physics prefer LaTeX. Even Science prefers MS Word. Why do they ...
31
votes
5answers
1k views

How to deploy a StackExchange-style question and answer site for a university subject?

Problems with discussion boards: After being involved with StackExchange for a couple of years, I've really grown to despise standard discussion boards. All those meandering threads, no commenting, no ...
30
votes
5answers
5k views

Conference management software (preferably open source) with custom fields

I've been told to set up software to organize a workshop. Is there (preferably an open source) conference solution that allows for: Abstract Submission Event Planning Arbitrary user data-fields ...
29
votes
2answers
1k views

Has the DeWitt Clause, which prevents publication of named DBMS benchmarks, ever been successfully defended in court?

Several commercial database vendors include an end-user license agreement provision, known as the DeWitt Clause, that prohibits researchers and scientists from explicitly using the names of their ...
27
votes
6answers
1k views

Archiving papers, simulation and experimental data, etc?

Archiving of papers and projects is very important for most of the people, and everyone has a method of it. I, personally, try to have different folders for different papers. In the folder of each ...
25
votes
5answers
688 views

Issue tracking when writing a paper

When writing papers (and even more - when revising after collaborators', or reviewers', remarks) it's hard to keep track what is done, what needs to be fixed, what cannot be fixed, when opinions of ...
24
votes
9answers
1k views

Is it acceptable to require a student to use the supervisor's preferred software/tools?

I'm about to supervise my first bachelor student and I'm not quite sure what is acceptable and what is not. The thesis will contain math formulas, illustrations, images, graphs and tables - like any ...
23
votes
4answers
9k views

Use cases of org-mode as a scientific productivity tool for academics without programming needs

I am a social scientist working primarily on Linux, but also at times required to work on Windows systems at the University. I have been looking to improve my productivity in the academic workflow ...
22
votes
5answers
2k views

Ignored Requests Open-Source Software from a Research Group

For more than 6 weeks now, I have been attempting to contact a post-doc or their (former?) PI to request access to either the source code or software of a tool that was published in BMC Bioinformatics....
22
votes
9answers
4k views

Saving handwritten notes for future reference

I have more than one hundred pages of handwritten notes. I made these notes while writing different chapters of my PhD dissertation. The notes include summaries of journal articles, my thoughts, ...
21
votes
5answers
842 views

Selling/Buying software in academia

I have written multiple opensource programs as part of my PhD, and some of these programs require a dedicated server somewhere on the internet to work. Mainly it is online databases, but also things ...
21
votes
6answers
8k views

Is there an open source tool for producing bibtex entries from paper PDFs? [closed]

In the desktop application for Mendeley, it's possible to import a PDF and have the bibliographic data automatically extracted (or perhaps looked up, I'm not sure). This feature is more or less ...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there opportunities to support cancer research through volunteer IT or software development?

Several friends and acquaintances have recently died from cancer. The chemo treatments are crude and destroy quality of life. Furthermore, chemo treatments depend on the efficacy of antibiotics for ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

Not citing code libraries used for paper

I'm submitting a paper to a CS conference, where I've just got the feedback from my professor. He wants to delete the few lines citing the implementation libraries such as sk-learn as well as more ...
19
votes
4answers
5k views

I want to opensource my code. Is it legal? Can I still publish?

I am a PhD (stipend) student at a Max Planck Institute (for a biological science) here in Germany. I came here to write software, but ended up spending practically all my time doing wet-lab work. As a ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Useful software resources for reviewing papers

I have a paper for review and I would like to include comments (on clarifications/suggestions/errors) over specific paragraphs or statements. What are some ideal software resources that could help ...
18
votes
8answers
819 views

I'm looking for an application or workflow which integrates data values into the writing process

Currently, on all of my projects, I do my data analysis, create my figures, put them into a word document, and then I start writing. I say things like "We saw a 35% reduction in the effectiveness of......
18
votes
5answers
552 views

How to review a software-tool paper?

I often get asked to review papers on new software tools. This always makes me wonder how one should review such a paper, or even whether software papers should undergo a typical review process at all?...
18
votes
4answers
742 views

Is there evidence that open source research software produces more uptake of methods?

In recent years there has been a drive to make science more open. This includes making the software used to perform research open source. The main argument in favour of this idea is that research ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

How does copyright work on screen captures?

I am writing an article comparing three pieces of software. I have taken screen shots of all of them and would like to use them in a non-open access article. Given the intended journal, there is a ...
16
votes
6answers
4k views

How can I digitally typeset math? [closed]

I want to digitally publish a document which includes mathematical equations – including symbols for integration, summation, etc. This isn’t possible in MS Office or Notepad, which makes things ...
16
votes
2answers
430 views

Can graphics created with Wolfram Mathematica be freely used and distributed?

This is just a simple question. I would like to know if one can use graphics generated by Mathematica (for example, plots) in one's paper and then upload that paper anywhere on the internet. I would ...
16
votes
1answer
496 views

Where to draw the line for authorship for a software-announcement paper?

I am currently working on a scientific software, for which I want to publish a software-announcement paper in a pertaining journal. While I am doing and probably will continue to do the vast majority ...
16
votes
2answers
271 views

Missing Software Citations

I've written a statistical software package and published a paper on it. Recently, it appears to have received moderate use, but with at least less than a 50% citation rate. I know this because Google ...