List of collaborative tools and productivity for research

Table of Contents

1 The "right" tools

  • Provided by public organisms with acceptable privacy/ethical settings.
  • Using open-source software for long-term support and for low/null price.


  • RENATER and CNRS tools can be used by the public scientific community in France through the "fédération d’identités" (portal to connect using various accounts, University, UMR, organization, etc…).
  • Data stored physically in France

– For all the RENATER tools, only one person needs to have an account, other people with no accounts can be invited.


2.1.1 Rendez-Vous

  • Audio/video webconference only (no phone line provided)
  • Using open-source Jitsi code – English version using (no account required even for host) – Université de Strasbourg is a partner of
  1. Advantages

    – Simplicity / no account required apart from host – No plugin required, simply need to share devices (mic+ cam) – usually in address bar – All major OS supported, Chrome and Firefox (despite warning for the latter)

  2. Practical details

    – Create room by simply enter name – Anybody can join with just the URL (room can be made private) – Chat / synchronized text edit / screen sharing

  3. Alternatives
    • Framatalk, Jitsi
    • Hangouts, Vsee, etc…

2.1.2 RENAvisio

  1. Features

    – Planned conference (up to 2 months in advance) : start, duration, access code, audio or audio/video, estimated number of connections, get calendar event. – Instant conference : 3h max and 3 people max – Conferences can be modified once created – Can connect from computer using ConferenceMe – cme:// link (Codian platform on Windows or Scopia platform on Mac OS and Windows)

  2. Advantage
    • Free
  3. Inconvenients

    – No international phone numbers – Linux not supported for access from computer

  4. Alternatives
    • BlueJeans, Powwownow, …

2.1.3 Filesender

  1. Features

    – Deal with transfers ( « dépôts ») of files – Get link or send invitation email from webpage – Specify expiration date (up to 3 weeks) – Get report (notification for each download, summary of all downloads at expiration date)

  2. Current limits

    – Size limit : 20Gb for all active files – Maximum individual file size : 20Gb if HTLM5, 2Gb otherwise – 50 max recipients

  3. Advantage
    • Free, simple to use
  4. Inconvenients
    • Cannot modify (e.g., add/delete files) once transfer is created

2.1.4 Evento

  1. Features

    – Only host needs to have an account – Use dates or other fields – Possibility to restrict responses to single choice – Get updates when answer updated – Multiple langages supported

  2. Advantages

    – Keep track of all Foodles created / responded to – Foodle can be locked after x checked entries in column y (for limited meetings etc…)

  3. Inconvenients

    – Cannot modify answer if guest. Needs to be logged in to enter answer in order to modify it. – But: anybody can respond

  4. Alternatives
    • Framadate
    • Doodle…

2.1.5 Universalistes

  1. Features

    – Using open-source solution SYMPA Système de Multi-Postage Automatique ( – Various setups possible, with combinations of who can post, who can access the shared webspace, who can subscribe etc… – Announcement lists : no posting allowed, only announcement by the creator(s) → newsletter, bulletin – Discussion lists : moderated or non-moderated messages

    • Can be confidential (only seen by subscribers)

    – Roles : listmasters, owners (usually creator), moderators, susbscribers – Shared document webspace – Wiki pages – Need to request creation. Needs to be broader than group or even lab use

  2. Advantages

    – Wiki / file database (like or confluence) – English possible language (useful for international moderators)

  3. Alternatives
    • Framalistes…

2.1.6 Partage

  • Large suite of tools (file sharing, calendar sharing, task management, instant messaging, webmail, address books, etc…)
  • Based on Zimbra Collaboration Suite
  1. Inconvenients :

    – Everybody has to use it for full efficiency, like every similar tool – Not free

  2. Alternatives
    • Framateam, OSF
    • Slack…

2.2 CNRS

2.2.1 CCSD

  1. Sciencesconf
    • Conference / workshop organization
    1. Features

      – Submissions of various kinds (e.g., oral, poster), with group of reviewers and ranking system – Organization through topics/themes for submissions / reviewers / etc… – Agenda with rooms – Registration fee can be done from website or with an external website – Website can be fully customized – Pre-defined mailing-lists to contact participants (e.g., all registered people, people with contributed talks, xpeople whose registration is not complete etc…) – Mail alias (, redirecting to one or several email adresses) – Proceedings (not tested – anyone ?) – Statistics (piwik)

    2. Inconvenients

      – No currency other than euros – Difficult to set different deadlines for oral/poster submission – Difficult to set different fees for categories (e.g., student) and date (works only for dates or for categories) – No pre-registration vs. registration → registration is validated only once – Help/guides in french only

    3. Alternatives
      • cvent
  2. Open archive

2.2.2 ODS

  1. MyCore
    • Storage, online and with local folder synchronized with owncloud (like Dropbox)
    • Sharing/sending/receiving files, calendars, etc…
    • Can create upload directories

3 Framasoft suite

4 Center for Open Science

4.1 Conference submissions

4.2 Project management

5 LaTex collaborative editing

5.1 Overleaf

Author: Vianney Lebouteiller

Created: 2019-06-17 Mon 14:29