Asana for academic collaboration

All my projects are in collaboration with other researchers. In the last year, I’ve been working with a tool that has revolutionised this collaboration: Asana. By now we’ve completed 3 publications and 3 research funding applications using Asana and currently working on 4 more projects. Asana is now forever pinned to my Safari toolbar. So it’s more than ready for a Macademic review!

Asana meets our needs better than any other collaboration software we tried. In particular we can:

  • create a list of tasks for each project and share it with certain co-workers (e.g. paper co-authors);
  • organise the tasks in categories for example, “Literature review”, “Figures”, “Supplementary information”; and tag them with custom fields for example, priority;
Asana main screen

The main window of Asana with the list of tasks, group by categories, Assignees and other fields of your choice

  • assign each task to a specific team member, with other team members as ‘followers’ (so that they get updates on the task);
  • discuss each task online; these discussions may also include attached files; for example, if the task is to create a figure, several versions can be attached and commented on until we get it right;
Asana screenshot

Details of a task in Asana where collaborators can discuss and refine it as well as share attachments, add sub-tasks etc.

Asana also provide tools to summarise the progress on your projects.

We’ve just submitted a manuscript! There are 14 tasks incomplete, but we drew a line in sand and will move these ideas to the next project

There is much more functionality in Asana and it’s being added the whole time. Unfortunately, the advanced version is not free, but check it out and may be you can get your university or funders to pay for it as a research management tool.


About Aleh Cherp

Aleh Cherp is a professor at Central European University and Lund University. He researchers energy and environment and coordinates MESPOM, a Masters course operated by six Universities.
This entry was posted in Collaboration, Writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Asana for academic collaboration

  1. Abdul Kikhia says:

    Have you looked at Polar Bookshelf?


  2. dropshot94 says:

    How many monthly seat licenses did you use? If more than one, who had to have a paid license and why?

    What other views did you use?

    What other tools did you use and reject?



  3. Looks quite promising, so thanks for the heads up. I wish I had that kind of tool for my most recent publications.. Sending document v.XXXrevABC back and forth, and confirming who is working on the most recent document, is just such an annoyance. 🙂


  4. Renee Teng says:

    Very nice example. Have you tried [ZenTao]( to manage projects? It has open source version.


  5. Pingback: Notion for academic collaboration | Academic workflows on a Mac

  6. Pingback: Essential software for academic work on Mac: 2021 update | Academic workflows on a Mac

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