In the beginning...
At Digital Science we’re always talking with the academic community and we were hearing a common theme. Researchers were having difficulty organising their data files. From undergraduate and masters students, to those doing a PhD and throughout their research careers, it seemed to be an ongoing problem.
We listened, we spent time identifying some of the problems, and we discussed concepts to tackle some of the most common difficulties researchers have in being organised.
We began developing a desktop application for Mac with the goal of helping researchers become more organised, have peace of mind about their research files, and have more time to actually do research.
We created a file manager which stored their data files in one handy place, the Projects repository.
We included a common folder hierarchy of projects and experiments to help researchers get started with their research projects and to stay organised with less effort.
We added useful widgets like file previews, stars for favourite items, and notes which link directly to projects, experiments, folders or files.
We included a backup mechanism, which we called snapshots, where an entire project is saved together at a particular point in time. We added automatic snapshots as well as the ability to take manual snapshots for important stages in a researcher's workflow, such as completing data collection of an experiment or submitting a paper to a journal.
Next we created a chronological timeline of activity, recording files added, notes taken, and starred items. We found the timeline helped researchers relate particular files to their written notes in laboratory notebooks, but that it was useful even for researchers who did not keep a written notebook.
The result is "Projects" for Mac.
We have tried to keep the app at an affordable price for academics at any stage in their research career.
We have linked up with our friends at figshare to simplify publishing research data and help researchers get credit for 'all' their research.
We have a lot of ideas to expand the functionality further.
We want to make remote backups easier for even more peace of mind. We also want to make it easier to share and collaborate with others on projects.
These are just a few ideas. We have big plans for this little app!
We will continue engaging with the community to ensure it becomes more and more useful, and that we tackle the right problems. So get involved by giving us feedback. We would love to hear from you, so follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or .
We’re proud of Projects and we know it will be useful for academics across any research field. Give it a try today.