Create a ‘live’ academic CV?

A question for the MPU academic hive.
Does anyone have any cool workflows for maintaining their academic CV as a ‘live’ document? I currently export peer reviewed publications from endnote or Papers into a text file and paste that into the CV doc. There are also blocks for published abstracts, grants, reviews, lectures given, conferences attended etc etc. Its all quite tedious to update manually, particularly if you let it slip for months.

Developers out there, if there was an app that did this I would buy it immediately… add in automatic academic metrics calculation and it would be a winner (amongst academics at least)

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I’m thinking LaTeX. You could use \input{} statements in the relevant sections to read in you text files exported from your reference manager.

My second thought would be to use markdown in R. My first time looking at this use of R markdown, and the link below looks interesting. See also rticles, papaja, bookdown, and thesisdown.


I’m in the U of California system and spent a few hours this morning updating my efile - the UC’s proprietary database - with a web interface. In a previous version you used to be able to export as a Word document but it would always need to edit it a lot - I always found it easier to just keep a separate document. Generally I don’t need my CV but I had to update one recently and it was a bit of an ordeal.

My closest thing to a “solution” is to keep a Taskpaper file with a running log of everything I’ve done, by academic year. Then when I need to do the updating, I tag each item with @CV and or @efile so I can use that as a point of reference rather than go back and forth between CV and efile.

I use R and Markdown in my work but at this point in my career I couldn’t be bothered to set up a new system for my CV.

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Although I’m not in academia I’m intrigued by this. Also a thought would be to create a Google form with options to complete various sections for updating. Granted might make things more challenging to copy and paste from Google Sheets.


One other thought - although I don’t always do it, I have a monthly omnifocus task to update efile. Tagged with energy level:brain dead .

I also try to put in any conference activities at the same time as I submit travel receipts.

More than anything, avoiding getting too far behind makes this work less tedious.


I was contemplating for a couple years on and off but never got around to using an Airtable as my source for my CV. I had a friend a couple of years back who made his resume in JSON and had a website with an html version and a pdf version.

With LaTeX, I might also recommend using the DataTool package and a ‘foreach’ loop. You can maintain information in a database, either real or a spreadsheet form, export it as CSV, and then re-fill a table location with the updated information.



I’ve seen some people do some cool stuff with Tableau to make cool resumes. That may be a good place to start with maintaining a database of info and converting it to a viewable format.

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Thanks for all the input. There are some cool potential solutions out there, though some of them come with the need to invest more effort to learn new software than I would be prepared to give to this.

@Jonathan_Davis you got me thinking, I hadn’t considered Google. I think this might be a simple solution. A google doc with a series of linked google sheets, one for each category (publications, grants etc). I would still have to keep the google sheets up to date, but at least the linked master document would be able to be updated with a single click.

Correct me if I am wrong, but it doesn’t seem possible to link data in this way in Pages/Numbers. I don’t even want to look in Word/Excel, I hate working with them so much…

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Let us know what you end up doing. I’m very interested in this as well.

I have also wrestled with this problem. What I have settled on for the moment seems to work pretty well for me. My academic webpage lives on GitHub, and I have an R markdown document in there where I can add to my CV. I use knitr in RStudio to generate html for viewing the CV on the web. If I want a nice printed or pdf copy for a grant application or something, then I have a one line shell script which turns the html document into a pdf using pandoc. As I write this, I realize it sounds like a ridiculous Rube Goldberg machine, but to my knowledge there is no standalone software that solves this problem which can otherwise be a massive time-sink for academics. Good luck with it, and please report back on what you settle on!