What’s the best software for discussing proposed research projects and managing them once decided upon?

Joseph Videtto January 11, 2013
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What’s the best software for discussing proposed research projects and managing them once decided upon? I’m looking to create a community centered around research topics for both the school where I work and for the alumni association from the school I graduated. Idea would be for people to propose, discuss, and then collaborate over the internet in conducting the research. Ideally, software would:

1.) not require extensive coding or alteration

2.) have a very user-friendly, professional-looking, inspiring and attractive GUI interface (sure, you can accomplish this only with Google Docs – but it’s not as motivating as using a more appealing GUI interface, if possible, and Google Docs doesn’t promote an implied ‘work flow’, so to speak)

3.) allow upload, download of sensitive documents (both .doc, .pdf, and videos) that could be encrypted, password protected, and sent via https

4.) accommodate authentication – possibly

5.) Have an interface that promotes a logical research work flow – for example, projects can be in
a.) “discovery” phase, where people throw out an idea and other comment on it,
b.) “accepted” phase, where the idea has been accepted by a group and is ready for planning,
c.) “planning” – people are discussing what will be done – tasks, personnel, etc.
d.) “active”
e.) “completed”

Free or low cost is preference, but anything that meets the requirements will be considered (and compared against free or low cost : )

Lastly – are there any ‘model’ sites where this is being done already?

  1. Phil Botsky
    January 28, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    There are many of that kind... Personally, I like Zotero.

  2. Oron Joffe
    January 12, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Joe, It sounds to me like what you need is a something based on a Wiki engine (see http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?TopTenWikiEngines for a list), but with a fair bit of customisation, which I'm not sure you have the resources for. As for Mendeley and Zotero, they are both reference management programs, which allow you to collect a bibliography but not really to manage a research project, and certainly not the planning stage.

  3. Rajaa Chowdhury
    January 12, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Checkout SmartSheet at https://www.smartsheet.com/

  4. Javier Rojas
    January 11, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    What you describe sounds to me like a hybrid of googlewave+mendeley.
    Wave had that features of sharing you describe, and Mendeley (also Zotero) allow users to make collaborative research of papers. Check out for Apache Wave and Zotero also. You can find other 'wave'-like alternatives in this link http://tinyurl.com/a5c8jp4

  5. Javier
    January 11, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Maybe Mendeley or Zotero have some of the features you describe. Mendeley, "is a cross-platform desktop and web-based research management tool", and you can use it with groups of colleagues, but it's not for multimedia, only papers, and you cannot upload stuff to share either.
    Something that sounds more similar to your idea is Google Wave, that allowed to share any kind of media, maybe you could check Apache Wave, wich continues to develop that idea of "fluid and dynamic collaboration between users" http://incubator.apache.org/wave/

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