How Overleaf got me into LaTeX
"I’m pretty much a convert to Overleaf and delighted to be using it. After years of avoiding LaTeX this has done the job for me."
– Professor Brian M Lucey
An interview with Brian M Lucey, Professor of Finance at Trinity College, Dublin
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I'm a finance professor, who mainly focuses on international financial integration and on commodities. Much of my research is on the nature of gold as an investment asset - but I am not a "gold bug"!
Why did you convert to Overleaf?
I have had a very successful career using Word, although I am old enough to have written out my earliest papers longhand and then used a typewriter. I have never ascribed to the "real economists use LaTeX" idea - papers get redone and reset by professional journal staff so do what is easiest for you. For me for most of my career that's been Word. But I have increasingly felt that with successive iterations of word it got more and more clunky. Having used LyX and liked it I was delighted when cloud-based quasi-WYSIWYG TeX compilers started to appear. I opened a few accounts, including the then WriteLaTeX (now Overleaf) and was immediately struck by the ease of use.
How did you first find out about Overleaf?
I don't know! I do have records of some chats with colleagues in mid 2013 on WriteLaTeX, and suspect that it came from one of them. One of them is a computer scientist so that's probably who it was!
How would you describe your experience of using Overleaf?
Almost perfect. There is still a learning curve but its much attenuated. Overleaf is ideal for collaborative work. I work a lot with colleagues in the USA and Australia and this makes it a lot easier to work on a single document with versioning. The templates and rendering are almost flawless and allow, as TeX is supposed to, a concentration on the material not its presentation.
What's next for you and your work?
At present I am working on some papers which use advanced data mining techniques to investigate the fundamental determinants of gold and silver prices, and also on the role of 'non economic' issues in international financial flows.
In summary, how would you describe Overleaf in one sentence?
A great way to get into LaTeX for the newbie, a superbly easy interface for the more experienced, and a wonderful collaborative output focused tool.
Brian is now championing the use of Overleaf in his department as an Overleaf Advisor - let us know if you'd like to join too!