Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Chemistry Crowdsourcing Pre-proposal Posted

I posted our pre-proposal to NSF's Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation program on Nature Precedings:
We used GoogleDocs to write most of the document but near the end I had to switch over to Word to get the formatting right. It is really a shame that GoogleDocs doesn't export properly to Word (or even pdf). There are huge spaces between paragraphs and the images don't come out the same size, which completely messes up the page length. And of course with proposals the formatting has to be perfect to adhere to their requirements (including the Arial font required by NSF).

Still I really like the collaborative features of GoogleDocs (especially the version tracking). It is much better to have a single version of a document available online to all collaborators rather than emailing around attachments. Hopefully someday Google will get the formatting issues fixed.


At 5:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have had similar experiences here in Cambridge with Google Docs. Nice collaborative features, but a ghastly writing environment.

Of course, if you and your collaborators are willing to author in LaTeX then a combination of LaTeX and Subversion should give you similar features in terms of version tracking and collaboration. Yet another option might be to try the Zoho Suite (another online Office product), which has the same collaborative features as Google but in my experience produces better documents.

At 7:14 AM, Blogger Cameron Neylon said...

Hi Jean-Claude, yes I had some similar problems with the OPEN proposal but it still seemed worth the effort. It does however effectively force you to make the final parts of the grant preparation (fiddling the format to get it right) closed.

I have been wondering for a while whether there is a case to be made for a Human Frontiers Science Programme grant if we could link the development of a set of ONS tools into things like ChemSpider etc using an appropriate set of drug targets and library sources. Essentially a range of peope making compounds, a range of people screening them (in silico and in vitro/vivo), tied into a tool development programme. Been meaning to post on this for a while but need to find the time to think it through properly.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Jean-Claude Bradley said...

Zoho looks really interesting - I'll give it a try next time

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Jean-Claude Bradley said...

Cameron - yes I would be interested in any funding opportunities related to Open Notebook Science and drug development. The NSF one can't be mainly about drug development.


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