How to do cross-references in SciFlow

SciFlow is one of several options when it comes to collaborative writing. I like the intuitive interface, but sometimes it can be hard to see some useful features built in — like cross-references to other sections and figures/tables. This is super easy in SciFlow.

Let’s start with a new document. In this example, I have two sections on the left, with a table in Section 2. I have also pressed the “outline” button to see the document outline on the right.

In this example, I want to add a cross-reference to section 2 at the end of the “Main text” section. I simply select the section I want to refer to on the right

and drop it in the text where I want the cross-reference to appear.

Here we go, the placeholder for the cross-reference is included.

We can cross-reference figures and tables in the same way. Select the figure or table on the right (note the “Figures, Tables & Equations” below the list of sections),

and drag it

into the main text:

At the time of writing, the placeholder makes no distinction between figures and tables, but it’s just a placeholder…

A bit like when using LaTeX, in SciFlow you use “What You See is What You Mean”, so the output will probably look different from what you have on the screen. Indeed, this is a strength of SciFlow, both in that it allows you to export in many formats, and in that it prevents you from spending hours tinkering with the formatting. Unlike some other online editors, SciFlow is good at producing Word documents that are commonplace in the social sciences (many journals insist on a Word document during submission), or PDF, as you like. You choose the style and can readily change that style because SciFlow separates content from form.

Here’s that little section in one style:

and here in another style:

There you go, placeholders replaced with the relevant text depending on the template used.

Automatically translated survey?

Machine translations have come a long way, but are they any good for surveys? Obviously, it’s a hard problem because response categories can be short and there is little context — human translators sometimes get these wrong… So today I played around with automatic translation, and was left wondering what source texts they used so that “nope” is the default translation (register, anyone?)

“yes” and “nope” as default answers…

Working from home…

… no, I don’t have a report to submit by tomorrow …

… what do you mean the file is locked by another user? you mean myself?

… and yet, we strangely get there!

MIPEX 2020 to launch on 9 December

Yes, MIPEX has been brought up to date! The global launch is due:

After months working together with local partners, MPG is now happy to invite you to the International Launch of MIPEX2020 taking place on December 9 from 2PM-3.30PM CET. The event will take place via Zoom Webinar and we very much look forward to welcoming you all to have an enriching discussion about MIPEX2020, its different areas, indicators, and international trends on integration policies. 

You’ll have to register by 6 December 2020: Link to invitation and registration

Quick and Dirty Covid-19 Online Surveys: Why?

Everyone seems to be an epidemiologist these days. I have long lost count on the surveys that land in my inbox.  It’s clear that the internet has made it very cheap to field surveys, especially surveys where questions of sampling  don’t seem to be relevant to those fielding the surveys. It’s also clear that tools like SurveyMonkey and Qualtrics make it easy to field surveys quickly. But that’s no excuse for some of the surveys I’ve seen:

  • surveys with no apparent flow between questions
  • surveys where the e-mail makes it clear that they are desperate to get any answers
  • surveys with incomplete flow logic (see example below)
  • surveys that ask hardly anything about the respondent (like age, sex, education, location)
  • surveys that throw in about any instrument that could be vaguely related to how people respond to Covid-19 (with no apparent focus; which is bound to find ‘interesting’ and statistically ‘significant’ results)
  • double negatives in questions
  • two questions in one

For example, how should I answer this required question at the bottom here? What if I assume corruption is evenly spread across all sectors, or not present at all?

I understand that we want to get numbers on the various ways Covid-19 affected us, but with surveys like these we’re not going to learn anything because they do not allow meaningful inferences. In that case, it’s sometimes better not to run a survey then pretending to have data.