Simple tools to boost your research and productivity

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I recently gave a quick presentation on quick tips and tools to boost research and productivity. I sent out an email to the Maastricht University work and social department faculty and asked them for their suggestions for tools and tips that they think their colleagues don’t know of that can help boost research and productivity. I got back quite a few replies, and most of the suggestions were generally well-known but there were a few surprises in there. I added those to my own list, grouped it into themes, and made some slides.

The presentation is available on SlideShare and embedded here:


Below is the list of tips and tools, grouped by topic. Do share in the comments below if you have other suggestions.


Increase visibility – How?

  1. Update your university profile page.
  2. Create a Google Scholar profile.
  3. Join ResearchGate, follow related others.
  4. Join Twitter.
  5. Even better – create your own website (it’s easier than you think) – /
    1. Update your publications (for scholars)
    2. Update your news mentions (for laypersons)
  6. There are some who can create it for you – (sometimes free)


Keeping up to date – Twitter

Why? finding & communicating with other scholars (see who I follow:, e.g. the open-science/replication/stats people – Daniël Lakens @Eindhoven – @lakens, Brian Nosek – @BrianNosek, Uri Simonsohn – @uri_sohn)

A good way to find news about:

  • Workshops (e.g., attended a few I heard of through Twitter)
  • Working papers (e.g., started a collaboration after seeing a paper)
  • Datasets (e.g., WVS, OSF-based)
  • Grants (e.g., Small Grants in Behavioral Economics)
  • Conference updates
  • New tools and scripts
  • Open positions (even some unofficial openings)


Keeping up to date – Blogs to follow

You might want to use an RSS reader – Been using the good olf Feeddemon since forever, but it’s no longer supported there are newer better services out there.



Following others’ research

  • Google scholar with email updates
  • Research Gate
  • Journal email alerts
  • Mailing lists


Workflow: Setup a research Wiki / diary

Why? (my example:

  • Organize your research
  • Easily share materials with others (code? ideas?)
  • Easier to collaborate with others

How? Dokuwiki, takes 5 minutes to install on a webserver


Some simple article ideas

Ran out of ideas for projects? Students need a project? Low on funding? Here are some simple ideas either for you or to give your masters/PhD students


Storing data / pre-registration /replications


Data collection


Stat software

  • Time to switch to R, use RStudio, and consider R Commander if you’re a newbie
  • If you’re into dialog boxes, consider JASP (open source easy Bayesian stats) instead of SPSS


Before you submit your article

Simple powerful tools to proof your submissions:


Essential Chrome extensions


Backup your work in real-time!

  • I automatically sync to Mega-sync (50gb free)
  • My old university gave all students and alumni 1-TB onedrive business account, where I store photos and large datasets.
  • You only need one software for all syncs: use Odrive Syncs: GoogleDrive, Dropbox, OneDrive, S/FTP,  Facebook, Instagram, etc. etc. (Tip: S/FTP means you can automatically backup your Wiki & website)


Storing confidential materials

Datasets with confidential information need to be safe.


Take charge of your email Academic email handling


  • Forward all incoming emails from all academic accounts to one designated Google Mail account.


  • We move between institutions / joint appointments / academic roles
  • Better functionality (POP3/IMAP/mobile-sync, search,contacts, calendar, etc.)

Things to consider: Confidentiality (students).


Looking for an academic job? 

The work psyc/OB job-market Excel. The OB folks have created an amazing view of the academic job market:

I wish we had something similar in psychology and other fields.


Reference managers


Other tips/tools


Any others? comment below…

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