For collaborators & students

Here you will find some semi organized thoughts about workflow, some files and some links to various software that has either proved useful or that I think might be useful. This page will evolve. Maybe. Some of the stuff here has been inspired by discussions with and advice from friends and collaborators like Jake Bowers, Macartan Humphreys, John Patty, Miriam Golden, Ryan Moore and others. If you have any ideas for things to make scientific collaboration easier, drop me a line.

A couple of basic things I use that I think make collaboration easier are Git (via the GitHub development platform) for keeping projects organized and for version control and Slack, an excellent team communication platform.

Jake Bowers has thought a lot more about issues of scientific collaboration, version control and how to make these tools work than I have. In particular, see his article Six steps to a better relationship with your future self in The Political Methodologist. Also, his and Jeff Gill's tips for turning your Mac into a social scientific computing platform.

Writing (mostly for students but also for collaborators)

If we are writing together, most likely we'll be using LATEX for typesetting papers. Get my custom .sty files and .bib file.

If you are writing a paper for one of my classes, you will be much better off learning to use LATEX. It will serve you very well in life!

There are lots of reasons to use LATEX. Yes, it makes typesetting equations much easier. But more important, it makes writing much easier by allowing the author to concentrate on content instead of appearance. Unlike a WYSIWYG word processor like Microsoft Word, what you see is not what you get. For example, to write "a phrase like This" you would type ``a \textit{phrase} \textbf{like} \textsc{This}'' in a text editor and then use LATEX to compile a PDF document with the formatted text.

It sounds much more complicated than it is. When writing scientific papers it helps to have a system where every aspect of how the final document will look is predefined using code, instead of having to tweak how each element looks, every time you write. Doing the latter, like in MS Word, means that you're more or less guaranteed to forget how you got it look the way it looks and you'll end up wasting more time trying to replicate something or trying to undo some MS Word induced weirdness that has appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.

You will need a LATEX distribution for either Mac OS X, Windows or Linux. You can get that here. Usually this will come with all the bits you need. In order to get documents typeset you will need this set of packages, a text editor (almost any will do, but I really like texpad), and a PDF viewer (like Adobe acrobat or Skim).

Links to software etc


The TeX Stackexchange question and answer site

The BibDesk bibliography manager

GitHub infrastructure for collaboration, version control etc

My GitHub repository

GitBox version control app for Mac OS X

The Slack team communication platform

Ethan Schoonover's outstanding Solarized colour palette

R Markdown let's you turn your analysis into documents

Basic Markdown language

Custom style files

I have some custom style files that will make writing in LATEX easier. These will replace your preamble and load all the customizations and packages necessary simply by calling e.g. \usepackage{dktrdr} in your preamble. Add these to your system locally. On a Mac, your local texmf folder is located in ~/Library/texmf. See this page for help on how to add .sty files on Mac OS X and this page for doing it on Windows.

Here I provide one style file for the article document class and one for typesetting slides in beamer.

Click to download general .sty file:

Click to download beamer .sty file:


For easily typesetting lists of references and bibliographies, use B IBTEX. My .bib library can be downloaded on the right.