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There is a reason for word: Reviewers are used to Word's versioning and change tracking system, where they can suggest edits and the author can accept them or not. My publisher also offered using .prn files but then the reviewers wouldn't have done the full job ... (in the end I cancelled the contract for other reasons, so no idea how well that would have worked out)

Sometimes I wish non-programmers knew how to use Github...

I will admit that, after a few years of writing papers on GitHub with co-authors, that I do occasionally miss the MS Word track changes. Not how I like composing my papers overall, but I don't think I'll ever be happy using Git to properly version prose.

Can Google Docs replace MS Word in this workflow ? It seems intuitive enough and there can be real time collaboration. This might allow authors to not install MS Windows and MS Word

I don't have experience with Google docs, but I don't think they produce layouts which are good enoughâ„¢ for book printing.

Google docs change tracking probably could be taught, but you are dealing with people who spent lots of time in their workflow and who are resisting to adapt for a single author. Mind that those reviewers and editors switch from book to book depending on frequency of author's feedback. The author is just one between many ...

I beg your pardon? I have never heard of a decent publisher doing the publishing in MS Word, i.e. the process from formatting to printing. The editing most often gets done in Word. As far as I know, Word lacks the formatting capabilities to do professional publishing. But maybe I just misunderstood you, or things have thoroughly changed in the last couple of years.

My story was ~10 years ago. The publisher asked to install a specific printer driver (as Word's rendering depends on printer settings) and using a specific Word template (defining margins, formatting, ...) and final result would be printing to .prn files.

If you look at many contemporary books typesetting is not an important topic for many.

Have you seen https://bookiza.io?

The idea is very interesting, but it seems broken on Edge and not fully working on Chrome: https://imgur.com/a/fL6MyiT

My wife most of her colleagues have moved all their collaborative academic writing to Google Docs, but she still has to copy and paste the final text into Word and fix the citations in EndNote to send off to the publisher.

This. I am regularly working on co-authored papers both in Google Docs and Overleaf, and they both have pros and cons.

Google Docs have a nice change-tracking and commenting system and next to no learning curve. The downsides are the formatting, which is rather unpredictable for complex-ish documents (figures are always a mess), and citations.

Overleaf helps get formatting and bibliography out of the way, but everybody must know at least some LaTeX, and you have to come up with your own comment-and-response system to keep track of what's going on. There is something baked in, but it is not satisfactory. On the other hand, it is very easy to just comment out stuff that is no longer needed in the main text but may still be useful or just serves as easy-to-see revision history.

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