Writing Scientific Papers on a Mac

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by pinardc, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. pinardc macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2012
    Guelph, Canada
    Hey guys,
    I've owned a Mac for many years now and I guess I would consider myself 'mac-savvy.' I am also a University student, and am conducting a research project in Parasitology this semester. At the end of this project, I will have to write a scientific paper - so my question is, are there any programs out there that will allow me to do this?

    Currently I am downloading MacTeX - which I know has some decent layouts/templates for scientific papers - but I just wanted to know if anyone has used anything else for this style of writing (other than Word) or if there is something out there with a more simplistic interface (over TeX)

    Thanks in Advance,
    Chris :apple:
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    The vast majority of scientific papers are submitted in Microsoft Word format. Popular among physical scientists and mathematicians is LaTeX. Some publications also accept WordPerfect documents.

    Having said that, you are operating from a false premise. Virtually any application that can print text on paper can be used to write a scientific paper. That is so not the issue. The issue is what is accepted by the publisher. Read the submission guide in a copy of the journal(s) that you expect to publish your paper. You may also find these guidelines on the journals' websites.

    Two additional words of advice:
    1. Do not violate the guidelines.
    2. Whichever format your publication requires, submit your paper only after you preview it in the native application for the format. For example--it may be OK to compose the paper in Pages. If you do, then do your final edits in Word prior to submission.
  3. klaxamazoo macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2006
    If you are going the LaTeX route then I would advise using LyX. It is a good WYSIWYM wrapper for LaTeX.

    For what you are doing, I would recommend Word unless either the journal you are planning to submit to prefers LaTeX or you are really interested in learning LaTeX.

    Personally, I use both. If you learn how to use Styles and the Styles drawer, then Word is almost as good as LaTeX but less work for short papers. That said, I am writing my Thesis in LaTeX/LyX and I find that that combination is perfect for a long document.

    There are some disadvantages between switching, in that I have spent a bunch of time converting some notations, equations, and feature references.

    Other programs to look into if you are going to Grad School would be Papers2 with either Bookends or Endnote for reference formating if you are using Word.

    DataGraph is my favorite 2D graphing program.

    Concentrate is a good Internet Blocker for when I need to work done

    iViewMedia Pro is great for organizing images but Aperture of Lightroom will do just as well.

    Lastly, if you go to Grad. School, invest in either Adobe CS or get the OpenOffice equivalent of InDesign. Trust me, being able to set Figure width, adjust images, set scales, auto-update links, and keeping formatting consistent is a huge time saver.
  4. swiftaw macrumors 603


    Jan 31, 2005
    Omaha, NE, USA
    I'd recommend TeXShop, it is a nice graphical front end for LaTeX
  5. ozaz macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2011
    I'd also recommend staying away from LaTex unless you have some specific need to go down that route. The existence of templates should not be that reason. As was mentioned earlier, you should strictly adhere to any provided guidelines on structure and style rather than use generic templates.

    Other reference managers worth considering are Mendeley, Zotero, and Sente. Take a look at this thread: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1178903&highlight=research+papers

    As for another writing app to consider, have a look at Scrivener

    I use Word, but that's because I often write collaboratively. If I was writing solo, I'd use Scrivener.

    Mathtype could be helpful if you need to write a lot of equations.

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