Live update of bibliography and blue underlines

  1. Live updates of the bibliography would be really nice. I imagine there is a technical reason for not doing this.

  2. One of the things about collaborative writing is that different contributors inevitably have different interests in using the reference manager (ie some continue to put citations in manually). The trouble is that when formatted, the PaperPile citations and manual citations look the same. It would be nice to have something inbetween formatted and unformatted in which the bibliography is visible but the citations are still in blue and underlined and/or the unformatted shows the bibliography in blue underline also. I think this would help to convince the manual people to use PaperPile as they will be able to see the result. it would also make finding errors in the references easier to find.

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  1. Yes, that is a technical limitation. We are using citeproc.js for formatting the citations, which runs on our servers. For live formatting we would need to make a call to our server, fetch the data form the database, run the formatting engine, and send back the response. That will take up to a few seconds. Waiting a few seconds every time you insert a reference, would make the writing experience very tedious.

  2. Doing successful collaborative writing is based on the willingness of people working constructively together. Inserting references manually will only cause trouble. That is independent of what platform or software you are using. If you are using EndNote and MS Word and send the files via e-mail, or you are using Paperpile and Google Docs the problem remains the same. It makes reformatting the references impossible if you want to send it to another journal.

Exactly for the use case of working with collaborators we have developed a Google Docs Addon:

Even if they do not have a Paperpile account, they can insert citations. There is no need to do them manually. With the Addon you can also ‘unformat’ the references, turning all Paperpile citations into the blue (easy to spot) placeholders again.

Yes, but the problem is behavioural, not technical… all the tools are there, but people’s behaviour is not always so easy to change. My request pertains to this experience, although obviously it would just be great if everyone used PaperPile right way… some authors are more comfortable manual and want to come back to cite in PaperPIle later. Seems like twice the work to me, but this is my reality.

I know the problem. I have myself authored >20 papers, and after all these years and tools it still boils down to the fact that there has to be a “citation guy”, who does all the work.

Haha… that seems to be me… I am thinking that there might be some more instant gratification if the bibliography could show while the citations are still blue.

On this topic as the “citations” person, it might be cool if when the plain-text citation is highlighted, and the PaperPile button is clicked, PaperPile automatically searches for that citation and gives suggestions.

We have something like this in the works. DOIs, ISBNs, or PubMed IDs is something that could be recognized relatively easily and looked up automatically.

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