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

2.2.3 Tixeo

  1. Features
    • 1-on-1 video calls or group calls
    • Can stay on like Skype in order to receive calls much like if using a phone
    • Possibility to organize people into different discussion groups in the same session
  2. Advantages
    • Very secure
    • Splitting people into different group (Fusion mode) is an interesting added value
  3. Inconvenients
  4. Alternatives
    • Rendez-Vous
    • Zoom

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: 2021-01-05 Tue 11:14