Overleaf Launches New Platform
Improved functionality supports seamless and effortless collaboration between millions of authors across the world
Overleaf has updated its popular collaborative writing and publishing tool to offer enhanced collaboration and editing features. Bringing together the best features of both the original Overleaf and ShareLaTeX tools into a single cloud-based platform, the new Overleaf has been designed to enable students and researchers at academic institutions, industrial laboratories, technology companies and publishers to benefit from a powerful centralized documentation process.
“Overleaf is now firmly established as a leading tool in both research and education, serving a community of over 2.9 million users worldwide, from high school students through to experienced researchers and writers. Launching this new platform just over a year since Overleaf and ShareLaTeX joined forces is a testament to the immense work of the combined team, as well as to the valuable feedback on the beta version kindly shared by our users,” said John Hammersley, co-founder and CEO of Overleaf. “And with over 200,000 people using the new platform straight away, it’s certainly been a busy September!”
As part of a philosophy of “ship early, ship often”, Overleaf introduced a beta version of the new Overleaf in May 2018. During the summer, a wealth of helpful feedback on the new platform’s functionality was provided by users, which has driven further development leading up to this month’s launch.
Addressing popular demand, the new Overleaf platform has been developed to offer a wide range of capabilities to support authors working both online and offline. Some of the updated platform features include:
- Real-time track changes and commenting – simplifying review, acceptance or rejection of text edits for faster and easier collaborative editing
- Private invitation, link sharing and chat functionality – facilitating new and more productive collaborations
- Auto-compiling and real-time preview – updating the PDF view so collaborators can focus on their writing
- Complementary Rich Text and LaTeX modes – flexing to a user’s preference for editing projects with/without working in the code
- Ability to import and sync external files (e.g. datasets, bibliographies) – integrating with resources from other projects or external sources
- Direct submission to journals and repositories – saving time and effort when submitting manuscripts
- Advanced reference search – facilitating simple search by author name, title, publisher, year or keyword for effortless and fast insertion of the correct citations
- Automatic two-way Dropbox/Github sync – supporting seamless transition between working offline to working online with other collaborators
Key to Overleaf’s success is its ease-of-use for users, as highlighted by Professor James Friend, Medically Advanced Devices Lab, University of California, San Diego: “I am really grateful for Overleaf. It has enabled a slew of research and teaching development in my work that would have been annoyingly difficult before. Even people who don’t know LaTeX are participating with me on research proposals.”
Inês Mendes, a microbioinformatics PhD student, tweeted, “I’ve been using Overleaf for about a week now and I have to say that I’m a fan! I never gravitated towards LaTeX before but Overleaf makes it so easy to work with. I highly recommend it!”
Overleaf is also helping journals to save time when publishing manuscripts. Ruth Isaacson, Managing Editor, GSA Journals, explained, “Overleaf decreased the amount of questions we receive and the amount of processing time required from LaTeX users—with Word users we still have to answer a lot of questions, and it takes a lot more of the editorial staff time.”
Similar benefits have been enjoyed by universities when processing student thesis submissions. At Purdue University, where a growing number (35%) of all STEM students now use the Purdue thesis template on Overleaf, workload and review times decreased in cases where students used Overleaf to write a thesis – falling from 5 or more graduate staff/student meetings per thesis to approximately 2–3 meetings per thesis. It is estimated that this removes the need for approximately a thousand meetings each year at this single institution.
“Doing great research has always been about an exchange of ideas: Communication and collaboration are at the centre of today’s best research,” said Daniel Hook, CEO, Digital Science. “The new Overleaf removes yet more barriers to communication and collaboration, taking us a step closer to frictionless research.”
By the end of the year, the new platform will enable direct Git access to projects, Zotero bibliography imports and additional publisher submission links, as well as an upgrade to Overleaf’s on-premise offering to include the new platform features.
To learn more about Overleaf, please visit https://www.overleaf.com
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Mary Anne Baynes
Chief Marketing Officer, Overleaf
Overleaf was founded in 2012 by two mathematicians who built a light-weight collaboration system and used it for writing research papers. It was simple and intuitive to use – all you needed was a web browser. This intuitive online platform has since seen rapid adoption across science and research, and Overleaf’s award-winning collaboration technology is now in use by over 2.9 million researchers, students and technical writers in institutions, labs and industry worldwide. Part of Digital Science, and working in collaboration with international publishers and organizations, Overleaf is helping to make science and research faster, more open and more transparent by bringing the whole scientific writing process into one connected place in the cloud – from idea, to writing, to review, to publication. In mid-2017 Overleaf acquired its nearest competitor ShareLaTeX, and our expanded team worked together to build an even stronger next-generation platform. Visit www.overleaf.com or follow us on Twitter @overleaf
About Digital Science
Digital Science is a technology company working to make research more efficient. We invest in, nurture and support innovative businesses and technologies that make all parts of the research process more open and effective. Our portfolio includes admired brands including Altmetric, Anywhere Access, Dimensions, Figshare, ReadCube, Symplectic, IFI Claims, GRID, Overleaf, Labguru, BioRAFT, TetraScience and Transcriptic. We believe that together, we can help researchers make a difference. Visit www.digital-science.com or follow us on Twitter @digitalsci