Shared folders owned by no one individual

At our company, we use Paperpile to organize our papers. The current behavior of Paperpile requires that one person own each shared folder. We are concerned about continuity if the person who originally created the folder structure leaves the company. Google Drive itself used to have this same limitation, but Google added Team Drives to solve this. Items in Team Drives are owned by the organization rather than by an individual. It would be great if Paperpile had a similar capability that allowed shard folders to live beyond a single individual. Paperpile could even leverage a Team Drive to store the PDFs.


We are aware of the issue and have plans to solve that. Actually we’ve started a while ago with some fundamental changes that will make it easier to transfer accounts between users. That also includes support for Team Drives.


Any progress on this? Related quesiton - what happens when the owner of a shared folder is no longer active, i.e. doesn’t have an account anymore? What happens to that folder?

I’m trying to figure out what will happen when a lab member graduates. Team Drive will address this issue.

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Well there is sort of progress behind the scenes but the fruits of these efforts won’t be visible for some time.
We are working on a completely rewritten sharing system that solves this and many other issues raised in the forum about sharing.

In the meantime, we have rewritten our Google Drive Sync from scratch which will work with Team Drives in the future. Some user facing features related to Google Drive have been released recently:

As a workaround we usually suggest to have one shared folder where all papers belong to one user with an account that won’t go away. Many companies have a “librarian” account for that and an “inbox” shared folder where users put things to share and the librarian sorts it into the main shared folder. Not ideal, but it works.

You always can import the papers from another user to your personal library and put it in another shared folder.

Also as long a user does not delete his Paperpile account the papers will remain available. Even if the Google Drive account is not active anymore or the user does not have a Paperpile license anymore.

Thanks for the info and the idea about the work-around.
Are there any news on this issue? I am pondering to use Paperpile for an bibliography of the institute where I am working. To make you suggestion work, we would need to create a new organizational Google account that everyone shares. Just a single account for everyone makes it impossible to grant different access rights to different users. The next problem is that there is no API to create automatic backups of the database in case some employee is going postal and just deletes the whole thing.

Thanks for the feedback here, @Martin. Stefan’s last post above still holds true: we’ve had plans for a complete rewrite of our sharing system for a while now but have not yet managed to make it happen. We’re getting closer, though - betas for an updated extension and web app are scheduled to roll out within the next two months; once that’s stable the team will be able to prioritize the topic of sharing.

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your website explicitly lists ‘sharing’ as a capacity, which is why i have begun using paperpile to compile my resources, but i cannot find the function to share even a folder and now after reading this thread it all seems a bit nuts. can you please update where the sharing function is? if it doesn’t exist right now then it should not be advertised as a feature!

Thanks for reaching out here as well as via chat. Here’s the guide detailing our sharing capabilities which we discussed by that via.

any update on this?
the existing support article linked lacks a sufficient degree of detail to cover off various scenarios. It should really have an extensive FAQ that addresses how granular the permissions are and address common pitfalls in workflows

Here is a summary of the current shared folder permissions @ajn.
The creator of the folder is the owner. They can invite collaborators, who must also be Paperpile users.

Collaborators can:

  • Add or remove collaborators through the “Manage Sharing” dialog (but they can’t remove the owner).
  • Add or remove papers to or from a folder.
  • Add or remove subfolders.

Owners can delete the shared folder but collaborators cannot. It is also not possible to change ownership of the shared folder.

Does this answer your question? The new shared folders that will be part of the new Paperpile will have more detailed permissions that will address a wider range of scenarios.

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