All of my research is collaborative. Even on my “own” projects, I rely on others to help me polish drafts of publications and usually to talk about my data. Getting my colleagues that data is harder than it ought to be. Usually, my data consist of interview transcripts, interview audio recordings, video recordings, and spreadsheets of survey results. I write primarily in Word and LaTeX. So, that leaves me with text data, numerical data, and media (audio/video) data that I need to share with my colleagues. I just checked, and all together, my data, as exists on my hard drive today, measures ~4 GB. I have 12 hours of video yet to rip, so let’s call it ~ 15 GB. How should I share it with my colleagues? I’ve made a table of options, and none is perfect. My favorite, though, is Dropbox because it’s so simple.
I have not included any institutional storage systems or sharing options such as Blackboard or CTools. I have also not included Google Groups or Google Docs. Instead, I’ve focused just on services that let you share data, not collaboration suites or whatever the other stuff calls itself. I’ve found those to be useless when it comes to sharing video and annoying when it comes to sharing anything else. Annoying means it takes too many steps to upload or download (e.g., Blackboard, CTools) or it ruins my formatting (e.g., Google Docs). Dropbox wins because it works just like a local folder but automatically syncs elsewhere.Â I’m currently using it for 3 projects and sharing LaTeX, BibTex, Word, Excel, plain text, AVI, MOV, and MP4 files.
Note: I’mÂ ambidextrousÂ and use these services on both Mac and Windows machines. I don’t use other platforms.