Academic Paper Template

March 14, 2014

I've been meaning to begin work on an academic paper, and have been trying to find something that allows me to easily track all of my references and format the paper for me.

I eventually settled on Pandoc over something TeX-based because I wanted to be able to simply write in markdown and create a system that could handle everything else for me easily. Pandoc has an extension called citeproc that allows it to properly format references based on CSL files. It can also output to .docx format, which is the format that I need.

I created a .docx file with the appropriate styles configured (12pt Times New Roman, heading formatting, etc) that Pandoc uses as a template for creating the final document. This system allows me to write my paper in simple markdown format, track my references in a separate bibtex file, and focus my energy on thinking and writing rather than formatting.

It was a little tricky to figure out the details of how Pandoc, the CSL file, and the document template all work together, so I created a simple template to make it easy for me to get up and running quickly on papers in the future. It's freely available on Github along with instructions to get started for anyone who can make use of it.

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