Carnegie Mellon Engineering

Bringing plain text to life

August 15, 2016

Contact: Hannah Diorio-Toth
Carnegie Mellon University

Bringing plain text to life

Carnegie Mellon professor creates software to improve data sharing in research and academia

John Kitchin, professor of chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, has developed an open source software designed to improve data sharing in applications such as engineering education and scientific publishing. The software, called scimax, was created out of Kitchin’s own frustration with using clunky word processing and text editing software to write scientific papers.

“Right around the time I got tenure, I started looking at what the next 20 years of my research could look like if I stayed on the trajectory I had been on in my career,” says Kitchin. “I knew a lot was possible, but I felt like I’d hit a plateau in productivity. I couldn’t find any software out there that did what I needed, so I created scimax.”

The software uniquely integrates data processing and analysis directly into plain text. This integration brings plain text to life, allowing for a multitude of applications in research, teaching, and writing. For example, scimax streamlines the process of writing scientific papers and eliminates the need for using multiple programs like word processors, reference managers, and data/analysis plotting programs. The software does not require the user to know how to code, says Kitchin.

Kitchin recently published two papers about using scimax to increase data sharing and efficiency in scientific publishing. The papers include “Examples of effective data sharing in scientific publishing,” published on May 11, 2015 in ACS Catalysis, and “Automating data sharing through authoring tools,” published on June 11, 2016 in the International Journal on Digital Libraries.

For more information on scimax, please visit John Kitchin’s website.

scimax - Download Infographic

Download scimax infographic (PDF)

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