Writing a paper with Buzzword

Buzzword is a free online word processor based on the Adobe Flash technology. I previously wrote about Buzzword and how it could be used to write a scientific paper. The first impressions were posiitve, so I decided to write my next paper with Buzzword. This paper has been submitted this week. What did I like and dislike about Buzzword?

Good
Most importantly, there is only one version of your manuscript. You and your coauthors can simultaneously work on different parts of the manuscript, the software saves all versions of the text. Buzzword is very pleasant to use, thanks to the elegant interface. Importing and exporting to Microsoft Word is possible. And Buzzword is free.

Bad
Buzzword doesn't handle references. You can create footnotes, but for referencing papers, you have to use another software. That's what I did in the final stages of manuscript writing, switching to Microsoft Word and Endnote. Buzzword doesn't show you the changes between different versions of a manuscript. This makes it difficult to see the changes that your coauthors made. Because Buzzword is an online word processor, you can't use it without an internet connection. One of my coauthors had Buzzword crashing several times, probably because of a slow internet connection.

Conclusions
Manuscript writing with Buzzword is fun. But without support for references and better version management, it is not ready for prime time.

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2 Responses to Writing a paper with Buzzword

  1. Andrew Sun says:

    Buzzword has better style control than Google Docs, but still not enough for creating a structured document.

  2. Maxine Clarke says:

    Thanks for the update, Martin. And a very happy Christmas and holiday to you — thanks for all your stimulating questions and comments this year. Looking forward to more of the same in 2008;-)